February 16, 2001

F.O.P., Congress Unveil `Homeownership Opportunities for Uniformed Services and Educators (HOUSE) Act'

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 — Today the National Fraternal Order of Police joined Sen. Charles Schumer and Reps. John LaFalce and Jim Leach in announcing the introduction of legislation to make it easier for law enforcement officers and other public employees to purchase homes in the communities where they work.

National F.O.P. President Gilbert G. Gallegos praised the members of Congress for recognizing the positive impact that such legislation will have on neighborhood-level law enforcement. "As we enter the new millennium, it is more important than ever to find innovative ways to improve the ties between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve," Gallegos said. "Having these officers live in the areas where they work day after day can only serve to strengthen our ability to keep communities free from the scourge of crime and drugs."

Entitled the "Homeownership Opportunities for Uniformed Services and Educators Act," the legislation authorizes one percent down FHA mortgage loans to law enforcement officers, firefighters and teachers to purchase homes in the district or jurisdiction which employs them. In addition, under this legislation, the customary 1.5 percent up-front FHA premium is deferred, reduced by 20 percent for each year of public service to the community, and waived after five years of continuous service.

Gallegos pointed out that the HOUSE Act will also improve the ability of local governments to recruit and retain full-time law enforcement officers. "The low down-payment requirement and the deferral of the customary premium will serve as an incentive to those who are considering a career in public service, as well as to encourage them to continue working in their local communities."

"Like most Americans, police officers and other public employees work hard to achieve the goal of owning their own home. But because these men and women often sacrifice higher paying jobs in the private sector in order to serve our communities, it is sometimes difficult to come up with the money required to purchase a home," Gallegos said. "The HOUSE Act will help pave the way for countless numbers of police officers to make this dream a reality, and in the process improve the safety and security of cities across the nation."

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with over 293,000 members nationwide.

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