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WASHINGTON- Senator Marco Rubio said the bipartisan legislation he introduced will allow first responders, including police and firefighters, to afford housing in the communities they serve, while helping with recruitment.
“It’s a law designed to help the people who help us,” Rubio told Fox News.
Rubio and Sen. Jon Ossoff, who introduced the bill alongside the Florida Republican, held a press conference during National Police Week to highlight the Homes Act for Every Local Protector, Educator and Responder ( HELPER). The legislation would provide a single-use home loan to police officers, firefighters, medical first responders and teachers.
“Too often these heroes of our communities cannot afford to live in the communities they serve,” Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat, said at Tuesday’s press conference.. “So we came together, Democrats and Republicans” to announce this “bipartisan legislation to make homeownership more affordable for heroes and public servants.”
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Democratic Representatives Al Lawson and Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Republican Representatives John Rutherford and John Katko introduced complementary legislation in the House when Rubio and Ossoff introduced their bill in October.
“It creates a funding option that might not otherwise exist,” Rubio told Fox News. “They are struggling in many parts of this country to be able to afford to live in the cities they serve.”
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The HELPER Act would create a new home loan assistance program for police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and K-12 teachers who have served at least four years in their respective roles. The law would eliminate mortgage down payment requirements and monthly mortgage insurance premiums.
The chairman of the United States Capitol Police Labor Committee, a union supporting Capitol police officers, said the bill would also help attract new officers.
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“These are incredibly difficult times to recruit young men and women into law enforcement,” said Gus Papathanasiou, chairman of the committee. said at the press conference.
“Over the next five years, the US Capitol Police will need to hire 500 new officers just to keep up with retirements,” Papathanasiou said. mentioned. “Additionally, we need to hire over 800 new officers just to deal with the new threat environment as we face attrition after the January 6 attack.”
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He called DC “one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country.”
Homes in the nation’s capital have a median sale price of $705,000, a 9% year-over-year increase, according to Redfin.
“The HELPER Act gives us an important tool to help officers get into the housing market and have their share of the American dream, which is home ownership,” Papathanasiou said.
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