Katko Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Teachers & First Responders in CNY Become Homeowners

May 13, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON— U.S. Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24) today introduced the Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act. This bipartisan legislation would create a new home loan program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for teachers and first responders, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics. Rep. Katko introduced this measure alongside U.S. Reps. Al Lawson (D, FL-5), John Rutherford (R, FL-04), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, NJ-12).

Many first responders and educators face financial obstacles when buying a home in today’s competitive housing market, and as a result are often unable to achieve homeownership in the same communities they serve. The HELPER Act addresses this by establishing a new home loan program under the FHA that creates a process for first responders and educators, who have faithfully served their communities, to affordably purchase a home. Modeled after the successful VA Home Loan Program which offers home loan benefits to our nation’s veterans, the HELPER Act removes financial obstacles when buying a house, like a large down payment.

“The ongoing pandemic has put a long overdue spotlight on some of America’s most important unsung heroes. From teachers, to police officers, to paramedics, EMTs, and firefighters, we saw these professionals faithfully support our nation during the pandemic, and at times put their own lives at risk to uphold their duties,” said Rep. Katko. “Unfortunately, these heroes, who make great sacrifices for our communities, often are unable to find affordable housing in the communities they serve. That’s why, I’m proud to work with Republicans and Democrats to introduce the Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act. This bipartisan bill establishes a federal program modeled after the VA Home Loan Program to provide targeted financial assistance to teachers and first responders and help them become homeowners.”

Specifically, the HELPER Act:

  • Creates a one-time use home loan program under the FHA for law enforcement officers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), paramedics, and pre-K-12 teachers;
  • Eliminates a down payment requirement; and
  • Eliminates a monthly mortgage insurance premium (MIP) requirement.