Rep. Maloney and Sen. Schumer introduce bill to expand VA loan guarantees to veterans purchasing co-ops

by admin on July 1, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced the Fair Access to Co-Ops for Veterans Act, which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to extend its Home Loan Guaranty Program to include housing cooperatives, a major form of housing in cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

“A home is a home, regardless of its underlying financial structure—single-family, co-op or condo. And since co-ops make up such a large share of housing units in New York City, and are often a less expensive option than condo units, too many veterans can be locked out of attractive housing opportunities,” said Maloney. “By allowing VA loan guaranty benefits to include co-ops, we can ensure that our brave men and women have the same access to housing as everyone else. We need to give our veterans the tools and resources they need to pursue their dreams of homeownership wherever they live.”

“Vets shouldn’t be discriminated against because they live in the uniquely complex housing market in New York City,” said Schumer. “This legislation will ensure that this program continues to work for all our veterans—no matter where they live.”

“Since 2006, Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Maloney have been trying to help our veterans gain access to VA home loan guarantees,” said Mary Ann Rothman, Executive Director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums. “They understand the importance of affordable home ownership for veterans. There’s no better form of affordable home ownership for a veteran than a housing cooperative.”

There are over 1.2 million housing cooperative units nationwide. In New York City, more than 500,000 families make their homes in nearly 6,000 co-ops in the five boroughs, according to the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums.

Background:

New York Times story on the issue here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/nyregion/va-loans-are-rare-in-new-york.html

Legislation authored by Rep. Maloney and Sen. Schumer and passed into law (Amendment to Public Law 109-461, the Veteran’s Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006) authorized a five-year program at the VA to guarantee loans made to veterans for the purchase of membership in cooperative housing corporations and enable veterans to occupy such co-ops as their residence. On April 22, 2008, the VA issued Circular 26-08-6, outlining their Guidelines for Processing Share Loans for Cooperative dwellings, but did not promote the program. The 2006 law expired in December 2011 and veterans have been unable to use their benefits for co-op housing units since its expiration.

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