Samuel Royer: Hammered by housing prices, first responders, teachers seek help


From armed battles halfway around the world to terrorist attacks on our own soil, America is no stranger to turbulent times. For more than two centuries, we have counted on courageous individuals who seize the opportunity to protect our country and our communities, whether abroad or at home.

This time the enemy is a virus. Over the past 21 months, police, firefighters, paramedics and teachers have put their personal health and the health of their loved ones on the line so they can serve their communities amid one of the world’s largest pandemics. the story.

Although they continue to present themselves to others every day, many of these frontline heroes are being crushed by soaring house prices, seemingly leaving them out of affordable housing options. The best Americans are drowning and we cannot leave them behind.

Congressmen Conor Lamb, Mike Kelly and Guy Reschenthaler understand the value that first responders and teachers bring to communities in Pennsylvania. They appreciate the sacrifices they make every day, especially in the face of covid-19. That’s why this trio of local lawmakers chose to put partisan differences aside and lead as a co-sponsor of the Homes Act for Every Local Protector, Educator and Sponsor (HELPER).

This common sense legislation is now supported by more than three dozen Republican and Democratic lawmakers from across the country and is desperately needed. Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert also approved the bill, as did the Pennsylvania Police Chiefs Association, the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association.

According to the latest Case-Shiller Index, year-over-year (year-over-year) house prices have recently increased by nearly 20%, with the median price now hitting an all-time high. However, Pennsylvania police, firefighters, paramedics and teachers have seen average annual wage growth of just 2% to 3%, leaving this largely forgotten class of first-time buyers virtually excluded from the housing market.

It’s time for these waterfront heroes to enjoy America’s dream of affordable homeownership. The HELPER Act would help make this idea a reality, creating a viable path for frontline workers to create wealth for themselves and a better future for their families.

Originally introduced in the House and since followed by a companion bill in the Senate, this groundbreaking bipartisan legislation would eliminate down payment requirements and provide 100% financing for one-time home purchases for buyers who belong to one of the frontline hero categories. : police and correctional officers, firefighters, paramedics and paramedics, and kindergarten to grade 12 teachers.

The switch would mean that if a young firefighter or college teacher wants to buy a moderately priced house, they will receive a loan to finance the full purchase price.

Another key measure of the HELPER Act is the elimination of monthly mortgage insurance premium requirements. Under the normal FHA system, most home buyers who can’t afford a 20% down payment have to pay a monthly insurance premium and an upfront cost. A $ 200,000 home, for example, would normally require a monthly premium of $ 140. Under the HELPER law, this monthly additional cost is waived.

Not only does this law save homebuyers significant amounts of money, it would present a low risk to the federal government; loss only occurs if the buyer defaults in foreclosure. Since first responders and teachers are dedicated public servants employed in stable, often long-lasting jobs, the chances of this happening are minimal.

I applaud Lamb, Kelly and Reschenthaler for walking down the aisle and turning this common sense idea into a legislative reality. Our first responders and teachers deserve the same access to affordable housing as our veterans. They deserve to live in the same communities in which they serve without the excessive financial burdens imposed by skyrocketing housing costs.

They have already sacrificed so much and they have earned their share of the American dream. Let’s make sure they get it.


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