08 Jul Understanding the 2023 HELPER Act
Help for First Responders and Teachers
The HELPER Act, Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder Act, was originally introduced to Congress in 2021 and recently reintroduced on May 10th of 2023. This groundbreaking legislation is transforming homeownership possibilities for our community heroes, and we’re here to break down what it means for you.
A Fresh Approach to Mortgage and Homeownership
If you’re a first responder or a teacher dreaming of owning a home, the HELPER Act is here to make that dream a reality. But what exactly is it? The HELPER Act is a program designed to make homeownership more affordable and accessible for those serving our communities on the front lines.
No Down Payment Requirement
One of the HELPER Act’s standout features is that no down payment is required. Under this Act, first-time homebuyers among police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and teachers are eligible for a mortgage using an FHA mortgage that waives the typical 3.5% down payment requirement. This means you can secure 100% financing of the appraised value of your dream home!
No Monthly Mortgage Insurance
In an effort to make buying a home in the communities you serve more affordable, this FHA loan program removes the monthly mortgage insurance premium, resulting in a more affordable monthly payment. The upfront mortgage insurance premium is increased under this new program and is financed into the loan amount borrowed when you purchase the home.
Eligibility Criteria for the HELPER Act
The HELPER Act is specifically designed for our first responders and teachers. But who qualifies as a first responder under this Act?
Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics, and EMTs
If you are a full-time law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, or EMT employed by a federal, state, tribal, or local agency, you are eligible under this proposed mortgage program.
The HELPER Act also considers full-time teachers from state-accredited public or private schools catering to pre-kindergarten to grade 12 as eligible for this program.
Other Requirements for Eligibility
To be considered for a mortgage under the HELPER Act, you need to meet a few additional criteria:
- You must be a first-time homebuyer.
- You must complete a housing counseling program approved by the Secretary
- You must have been employed as a first responder for at least four of the previous five years (or have been released due to an occupation-connected disability)
- You must intend to continue as a first responder for at least one year after securing the mortgage.
Making Homeownership More Accessible
The HELPER Act is a significant step towards recognizing the invaluable service provided by our first responders and teachers. Offering a mortgage insurance program with no down payment simplifies the journey to homeownership for these community heroes.
Stay tuned to our blog as we delve deeper into the HELPER Act and other topics impacting our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, and teachers.
How You Can Help
You can voice your support for Police, Fired, Paramedics, EMTs, and Teachers by contacting U.S. House and Senate representatives. We’ve created a template for writing letters or sending emails under Take Action on this website. You can also find and call your representatives by using this lookup tool.
We’ve also set up a Facebook Group for supporters of the HELPER Act. We update this group regularly as we progress or need help making progress on passing this bill.