Federal Daily News

Military groups back bill to aid servicemembers hurt by housing market

Military groups are throwing support behind a bill that would provide relief to servicemembers forced to sell their homes in slumping housing markets when they are permanently reassigned to a new duty station, said bill sponsor Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

The bill, H.R. 237, would expand the eligibility period for the Homeowners Assistance Program so that more servicemembers would be eligible, Connolly said in a Feb. 25 statement.  HAP offers federal reimbursement or other assistance to servicemembers and certain civilians when they face financial losses on home sales due to reassignment.

Current law requires that homes had to be purchased by or before July 1, 2006, to qualify for the program. But Connolly said the 2006 cutoff for eligibility is too restrictive, because the full extent of the mortgage crisis was not apparent until some months later.

The legislation would provide DoD with the ability to change the eligibility dates for a specific military base or installation based on the local housing market, Connolly said.

“Many servicemembers who are reassigned and must sell their current homes discover that their homes are worth less than their mortgages and they face a financial nightmare,” Connolly said. 

The bill has received support from a number of groups, including the Military Officers Association of America; the Air Force Sergeants Association; and the National Military Family Association.

To see more, go to: http://connolly.house.gov.

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