Washington, D.C. - Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) today applauded the passage of H.R. 3221, The American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act, legislation which provides $15 billion in tax benefits for homeowners, $4 billion for communities to rehabilitate or redevelop vacant property and $180 million for pre-foreclosure counseling at NeighborWorks agencies nationwide.
“Responsible home ownership provides the foundation for a growing economy,” said Higgins. “The bill passed today is a comprehensive solution to strengthen our economy and strengthen neighborhoods in Western New York.”
The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act strengthens neighborhoods by providing Community Development Block Grant funds to states and localities to buy vacant homes at a discount and rehabilitate or redevelop the homes to stabilize neighborhoods. Foreclosed and rehabilitated homes would be sold or rented to moderate-income individuals and families whose income does not exceed 120 percent of the local median income. Any profit from the sale or rental of these properties must be reinvested in affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization.
The legislation also:
o expands homeownership opportunities for veterans and helps returning soldiers avoid foreclosure and stay in their home;
o includes tax provisions to spur home buying; including giving first-time homebuyers a refundable tax credit that works like an interest-free loan of up to $7,500 (to be paid back over 15 years);
o provides taxpayers that claim the standard deduction with up to an additional $500 ($1,000 for a joint return) standard deduction for property taxes in 2008; and
o creates a new fund to boost the nation’s stock of affordable rental housing in both rural and urban areas for low and very low-income individuals and families.