Across the nation, law enforcement agencies are hurting for staff. However, some of these agencies have what most of us would consider good policies. They allow proactive policing, the pay is good, the benefits are pretty outstanding, and in some of these areas, the people support their police. I have been seeking employment and have looked across the country. The biggest reason behind not moving yet is finding an affordable home.
When it comes to relocating for a job in 2022, housing is undoubtedly one of the most significant hurdles. Most agencies require that officers live within a certain radius or within city/county limits. This is not just a problem facing law enforcement. Firefighters, Medics, and teachers also live off average salaries and are often required to live within their work areas. Again, this isn’t a problem for those in the more rural areas, but when you start talking about major metropolitan areas, the skyrocketing cost of housing makes that virtually impossible.
Finding an affordable place to rent is not any easier. In many areas, people who once were paying $700 a month for their rent are now spending three to four times as much. In many cases, it is far less expensive to own a home than it is to rent one. Not only is a home an investment, but if you are paying $2,000 a month on rent, you are essentially paying for a $720,000 home with nothing to show. (Based on a 30-year mortgage and not factoring in interest rates)
In the spring of 2021, Marco Rubio drafted a bill called “The Helper Act.” “The Helper Act” aims to help state-funded employees secure affordable housing. In tone, the bill is similar to loans offered to military veterans. They allow state-funded employees, including law enforcement, to qualify for low-interest housing loans. In addition, you will receive a one-time offer to secure a $0 down payment as well. It is estimated that this bill would save home buyers approximately $35,000.
There is still much work to be done before this bill can be approved and passed into law. Currently, there are 66 cosponsors for the bill, which include support from both sides of the aisle. 37 Democrats and 29 Republicans have signed on to support “The Helper Act.” This bi-partisan bill has had almost no opposition, and once it is fleshed out, it is believed this will pass into law.
What are your thoughts on this bill? Is this another predatory mortgage lending practice aimed at state wage earners, or is this a blessing for those hometown heroes? I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on “The Helper Act” and will keep an open mind.