First responders, teachers may not have to put money down on homes under bill by Sen. Ossoff

It’s a way to help recruit and keep first responders and teachers with housing incentives and one of Georgia’s senators is backing the idea.

Channel 2’s Richard Elliot was in Roswell with Ossoff’s plan to help critical workers buy homes without having to put any money down.

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It is not easy to be a firefighter, police officer, or teacher. It’s even harder for any first responder or educator to live in or close to the communities they serve.

Roswell Police Chief Jim Conroy knows all about that. Like other police departments, Roswell is having trouble recruiting and keeping officers.

“We attract a lot of young employees. This is their first real career job, and they’re living in apartments, and they need to make that transition into permanent homes,” Conroy said.

“You want your teachers in your communities. You want firefighters, police officers to be able to live in the communities they serve,” Ossoff said.

At a news conference outside Roswell Fire Station 24, Ossoff said Monday he’s co-authoring a bill that would allow first responders and teachers to get a down payment-free mortgage but one that is still backed by the federal housing administration.


It’s modeled after a similar existing law for military veterans.

The borrower still has to be credit-worthy and banks still have to do due diligence but it exempts them from having to pay a down payment, making homes more affordable in the places they serve.

“The challenge of home affordability makes it difficult for public servants to afford homes in the communities where they work,” Ossoff said.

Conroy said that could make it easier to recruit young officers to Roswell.

“We want people to live close to where they work. It’s a better quality of life,” Conroy said.

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Ossoff said the bill has bipartisan support -- so much so, that he said he’s co-authoring it with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.