March 18, 2024

Cassidy Cosponsors Legislation to Make Homeownership Affordable for Law Enforcement, Teachers, First Responders

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) cosponsored the Homes for Every Local Protector Educator and Responder (HELPER) Act, legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), to create a first-time homebuyer loan program under the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for law enforcement, teachers, and first responders who have served at least four years in their respective role. 

“Across Louisiana homeownership is becoming more and more out of reach, especially when you add on the rising cost homeowners and flood insurance,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our law enforcement, first responders, and teachers deserve to be able to buy a home and build their lives in the communities they serve every day.”

“Homeownership is a cornerstone of the American Dream. Our public servants’ ability to reside in the neighborhoods they serve is crucial to the strength and resilience of our communities. As already high housing prices continue to rise, the HELPER Act would ensure that our teachers and first responders can own a home in the communities they dutifully serve,” said Senator Rubio.

“I’m working across the aisle to support Georgia’s teachers, first responders, and police officers by making home ownership more affordable for public servants who teach our kids and protect our families,” said Senator Ossoff.

“Our teachers, firefighters, law enforcement, and first responders protect and serve our communities. Yet I hear from officers and educators in Ohio that too often they can’t find an affordable place to live in the city or county where they work. When we make housing more affordable for teachers and first responders, we improve recruitment for these crucial jobs and we give more Ohio families a shot at the middle class,” said Senator Brown.

The HELPER Act is widely supported in Louisiana including by the Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association, Louisiana Law Enforcement Association, IUPA Local 83, Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance, Parish Presidents of Louisiana Association, Police Jury Association of Louisiana, as well as many local officials.

“We commend Senator Cassidy’s leadership and strong support for the HELPER Act,” said Meg Bankston, Executive Director, Parish Presidents of Louisiana Association. “In parishes across the state, we are seeing public servants struggle to buy homes in the communities they serve. The HELPER Act would go a long way toward addressing that issue for public servants across Louisiana and across the entire country.”

“We applaud Senator Cassidy for his support of the HELPER Act and are pleased to see Congress taking steps to make housing more affordable for our law enforcement community. Housing prices continue to increase along with the cost of ownership given the rise of homeowner insurance policies in Louisiana. Too often, our deputies struggle to afford their first home. The HELPER Act would make housing more affordable by creating a specialized home loan option that would assist Louisiana law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and teachers. The bill could also have a positive impact on recruiting and retention for law enforcement officers which has been a challenge in Louisiana and the rest of the country. We are proud to stand with our partners in public safety and public service like police, firefighters, and teachers who would also benefit from the HELPER Act. They have earned access to affordable housing so they can provide for their families and the communities they serve,” said Michael Ranatza, Executive Director of the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association.

“Senator Cassidy’s statement expressing support for the HELPER Act is further evidence of his dedication to firefighters across Louisiana,” said Deputy Fire Chief Skip Pinkston, President of the Louisiana Fire Chiefs Association. “Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect their neighbors’ homes. It is only fair they should be empowered to purchase affordable homes of their own.”

“On behalf of Louisiana’s Chiefs of Police, I want to thank Senator Cassidy for his leadership on the Homes for Every Local Protector, Educator, and Responder Act. This important legislation will make homeownership more accessible to our police officers by eliminating some of the barriers for first-time homebuyers, like a downpayment and monthly mortgage insurance premiums. Our police officers make great sacrifices in serving their communities and we appreciate any assistance that would ensure they find affordable housing options in the very communities they serve. We urge Senator Cassidy’s colleagues to join him in supporting the HELPER Act and passing this legislation as swiftly as possible,” said Chief Bryan Zeringue, Thibodaux Police Department, President, Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police.

“We are grateful to Senator Cassidy for his commitment to enact the HELPER Act,” said Larry Carter, President, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. “Home prices continue to rise across Louisiana, and this is exacerbating the current teacher shortages plaguing school districts across the state. The HELPER Act, which seeks to help teachers buy homes in the communities they serve, is a huge step forward and would complement our ongoing work to address the high housing costs facing our teachers.”

The HELPER Act could have a positive impact on recruiting and retention for law enforcement officers which has been a challenge in Louisiana and the rest of the country. Louisiana sheriffs’ offices have been short roughly 1,800 deputies statewide. The New Orleans Police Department has been short roughly 300 officers. The Shreveport Police Department has been short roughly 190 officers. The Baton Rouge Police Department has been short roughly 60 officers. Working to eliminate these shortages is vital to the public safety of our communities.

The HELPER Act would:

  1. Create a new home loan assistance program administered by the FHA for law enforcement officers, firefighters, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and pre-K-12 teachers who have served for at least four years in their respective roles and are first-time home buyers.
  2. Eliminate a mortgage down payment requirement.
  3. Eliminate a monthly mortgage insurance premium requirement.
  4. Include an upfront mortgage insurance premium to help fund the program.
  5. Allow for a one-time use of the program by eligible individuals.

The HELPER Act is cosponsored by a total of 135 Members of Congress in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, including Representatives Clay Higgins (R-LA-03) and Troy Carter (D-LA-02).