Volunteer First Responder Housing Act Reintroduced

On December 5, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) along with original co-sponsors Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jon Tester (D-MT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced the Volunteer First Responder Housing Act (S. 2982), which would expand eligibility for qualified volunteer emergency responders to participate in two existing federal housing assistance programs.

S. 2982 makes it possible for more volunteer emergency responders to participate in the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That program assists lenders in providing low- and moderate-income households loans to build, rehabilitate, improve, or relocate a dwelling in an eligible rural area. The bill allows volunteers to participate in the loan program even if their income exceeds the maximum allowable income level by up to $18,000.

S. 2982 also makes volunteer emergency responders eligible to participate in the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Currently, that program gives career public safety officers as well as teachers a 50 percent discount from the list price on homes located in revitalization areas.

“I’d like to thank Senators Baldwin, Rounds, Tester, Capito, and Roberts for introducing this important legislation,” said NVFC Chair Steve Hirsch. “Many fire, EMS, and rescue departments are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer personnel. Helping volunteer emergency responders buy, renovate, or refinance their home is a fantastic retention incentive that also makes it easier for volunteers to continue living in the community where they serve.”