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CUOMO ANNOUNCES PLAN TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TO BUY CITY HOMES
NEW YORK - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that law enforcement officers in neighborhoods covered by 54 zip codes within New York City will be able to buy HUD-owned homes at half-price under the Officer Next Door Program.
The Officer Next Door Program is designed to help revitalize economically distressed areas, make communities safer and promote stronger police-community ties. It offers law enforcement officers 50 percent discounts on homes that were previously insured through the Federal Housing Administration (part of HUD) and were then foreclosed when owners failed to make mortgage payments.
HUD-foreclosed homes must be located in designated revitalization areas to be purchased under the Officer Next Door Program. The savings under the program give officers a powerful financial incentive to move into neighborhoods where they might otherwise not live.
Cuomo also said that HUD will conduct a nationwide review to select additional revitalization areas to become eligible for the Officer Next Door Program over the next few months, making thousands more homes available for officers in more cities around the country.
In addition, Cuomo announced that HUD will provide officers around the country with an extra savings of about $2,000 when they use a HUD-insured loan to rehabilitate as well as buy a home under the Officer Next Door Program. The extra savings will be generated by a 20 percent cut in the fee HUD charges to insure these purchase/rehabilitation loans. The insurance is offered under the 203K Loan Program run by FHA.
"We're building on the success of community policing by turning the neighborhood cop into a good neighbor," Cuomo said. "An officer who lives alongside the people he or she protects will become more sensitive and responsive to their needs, and better serve the community."
"When a police officer moves into an area, criminals want to move out," Cuomo added. "That makes new families, new businesses and new jobs more likely to move in. All this speeds up community revitalization and benefits everyone in the area."
The Secretary's announcement came at a New York City news conference, where he was joined by Congressman Major Owens and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Congressman Owens said: "We need HUD to vigorously apply this program in New York City as well as across the nation. The issue of residence for police officers is a serious one, and any component that helps us to keep the issue before the public, and will facilitate a breakthrough on this critical matter, is welcome."
District Attorney Brown said: "I can think of few better ways to stabilize a neighborhood, provide good role models for the children who live there, and contribute to the general welfare of a community than having a number of police officers residing in the area. The program also provides a terrific financial benefit to police officers who want to own their own homes. It is a great program."
Neighborhoods that are designated by zip code as revitalization areas are eligible for participation in the Officer Next Door Program. In New York City, HUD-owned homes in 54 zip codes covering the following areas are eligible for half-price purchase by officers under the Officer Next Door Program: Manhattan - Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Lower East Side. The Bronx - Bathgate, Bronx River, Morrisania, South Bronx, Soundview, University Heights, Clasons Point and High Bridge. Brooklyn - Bushwick, East New York, Prospect Heights, East Flatbush, Sunset Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights and Red Hook. Queens - Far Rockaway, Hollis, St. Albans, South Ozone Park and South Jamaica. Staten Island - Stapleton, St. George, West New Brighton and Richmond.
Revitalization areas are in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, have many vacant properties, and often have high crime rates. They are considered good candidates for economic development and improvement.
The Officer Next Door Program does not cost taxpayers any money because FHA earns hundreds of millions of dollars a year for taxpayers through its insurance premiums.
The program has the support of these law enforcement groups: National Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Union of Police Associations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Police Executive Research Forum, National Sheriff's Association, National Troopers coalition, and the Police Foundation.
Officers may purchase single-family detached homes, condominiums, and townhouses under the program.
Any law enforcement officer who is employed full-time by a federal, state, county or municipal government is eligible to participate in the Officer Next Door Program. Officers are required to live in a home purchased under the program for at least three years.
Officers may buy a home directly from HUD, or may use a real estate broker to arrange the sale. Alternatively, a local government can purchase the house from HUD and then sell it to the law enforcement officer. Law enforcement officers can contact their local HUD office for information on the availability of properties in their area.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009