Volunteer First Responder Housing Act: Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino-Will The Housing Assistance Be Enough for the Beneficiaries?

Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino Proposed the Volunteer First Responder Housing Act

Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino
Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino Introduced Volunteer First Responder Housing Act (Photo: House.gov)

On July 20, U.S. Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino (R-NY) filed bipartisan legislation that would increase the number of qualified volunteer first responders who are eligible for various government housing programs.

Representatives Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-7), Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), Frank Lucas (R-OK-03), Dan Kildee (D-MI-08), Derek Kilmer (D-AW-06), Claudia Tenney (R-NY-24), and Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino (R-NY) are among the bill’s original sponsors, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program, would increase the number of people who are eligible for the American Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program.

“Long Island relies almost entirely on volunteer firefighters to prevent, combat, and extinguish fires while also providing other emergency services and, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s 2017 U.S. Fire Department Profile, 65 percent of firefighters nationwide are volunteers,” Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino stated. “Recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters is critical for thousands of communities, yet local volunteer fire departments continue to find it difficult to meet staffing needs,” Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino added  (See full story at American Security Today)

Housing Act Introduced By Andrew R. Garbarino Gives Volunteer First Responders A $18,000 Tax Credit To Aid With Housing Expenses

By up to $18,000, the Volunteer First Responder Housing Act introduced by Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino would permit volunteers to take part in the loan program even if their income is beyond the upper limit. A home in a revitalization area can be purchased for 50% less than the list price for law enforcement, teachers, firemen, and emergency medical technicians under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program. As per Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino along with the other original sponsors, expanding eligibility for the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program is one of the main objectives of this bill through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program.

“Our brave volunteer first responders, including the volunteer firefighters that consist of so much of the Hudson Valley’s firefighting operation, have to contend with the absurd cost-of-living in New York State,” stated Rep. Lawler. “That’s why I’m proud to be introducing, with Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino, the Volunteer First Responder Housing Act, a critical piece of legislation that provides an $18,000 tax credit to help volunteer first responders offset housing costs. I was thrilled to pass a true 10% property tax cut for our volunteer first responders in the State Assembly in 2022,” Congressman Lawler then said (NY-17). “With our firefighters and EMTs giving so much of themselves in service of our communities, this federal tax credit is a small token of our thanks, one that will go a long way towards keeping our first responders in New York.”

“Fire departments across mid-Michigan rely on local volunteers to serve as firefighters and emergency first responders. These brave men and women, like all Michiganders, deserve a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Congressman Kildee. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation, alongside Democrats and Republicans, including Andrew R. Garbarino, to help provide more affordable housing for Michigan first responders.” See the full story at FIREHOUSE.

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“I’d like to thank Rep. Andrew R. Garbarino for his leadership on this important bill,” National Volunteer Fire Council Chair Steve Hirsch vented. “Many fire, EMS, and rescue departments are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer personnel. Helping volunteer emergency responders buy or renovate homes is a fantastic retention incentive that makes it easier for volunteers to continue living in the communities they serve.”

Chief Donna Black, CFO, EFO, the president and board chair of the International Association of Fire Chiefs ventilated “I thank Representative Garbarino for introducing the Volunteer First Responder Housing Act. This legislation recognizes the important service that volunteer firefighters provide to their communities. Today, fire departments are facing recruitment and retention challenges. This bill provides an especially important incentive for interested volunteers at a time when mortgage rates are historically high. We ask the U.S. Senate to pass this legislation soon so that we may assist those individuals in our communities who are protecting our infrastructure and citizens.”

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