U.S. Senate approves bill that enables Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing at lower cost

Habitat thanks Sens. Rob Portman and Michael Bennet for championing HOME Act to allow for donated home appraisals

ATLANTA (March 14, 2018)The U.S. Senate today approved legislation that will allow nonprofit affordable housing developers like Habitat for Humanity to build at lower costs by ensuring that home appraisers are able to donate their services. The legislation introduced by Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, known as the HOME Act, was included in a bill approved by the Senate today.

“This bill will help us keep affordable housing affordable,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Across the United States, Habitat volunteers build thousands of new homes alongside homebuyers. By ensuring that professional appraisers are also able to volunteer their services, this legislation will help keep loan origination fees low for new homebuyers. That’s good news for people buying Habitat homes, and it’s good news for the more than 1,300 local Habitat organizations across the nation that will be able to use the savings to build, rehabilitate and repair more homes.”

The HOME Act was included as a provision in the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act that was approved by the Senate. The HOME Act modifies a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to clarify that professional home appraisers are permitted to donate their services to nonprofit developers like Habitat. The House of Representatives approved the HOME Act on a standalone basis in January. The House and Senate will need to reconcile differences in the legislation before giving final approval.

Sens. Portman and Bennet have championed the legislation that would allow local Habitat organizations to continue serving their community effectively at the lowest costs for homeowners.

“Sen. Portman has long been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity, both in the halls of Congress and on Habitat build sites throughout Ohio,” Reckford said. “We thank him and Sen. Bennet for their diligent work and look forward to partnering with them to see the HOME Act signed into law.”

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.