Brown pushes for Veterans Housing Stability Act

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct an error. The Veterans Housing Stability Act would allow veterans to miss a few mortgage payments and would place those missed payments at the end of their loan without interest. The original article stated that interest would be assessed on those missed payments.

U.S. SEN. Sherrod Brown and Larry Moore, executive director of the Summit County Veterans Service Commission, are teaming up to support veterans in Ohio.

Brown, D-Ohio, said hundreds of veterans in Ohio are at risk of losing their homes.

“I work to make home ownership more affordable for everyone, and that especially includes our veterans, our troops. Many veterans and service members faced financial difficulty during the height of the pandemic. So many families did temporarily pause their mortgage payments on VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) Home Loans, through something called forbearance. Now, those veterans and service members are at risk of foreclosure, because there aren’t enough options to catch up with their payments,” Brown said Wednesday during a teleconference.

Brown said he is pushing to pass the Veterans Housing Stability Act to correct the issue.

He remarked that the Veterans Housing Stability Act would help “prevent Ohio veterans and service members from losing their homes while they are working to catch up with their mortgages.

“They (veterans) want to do the right thing. They want to make their payments. They want to get back on track, but the VA isn’t offering them any portable options to do that. Our solution is based on a policy that’s already offered in other federally backed mortgage programs.”

Brown said the Veterans Housing Stability Act would allow veterans to miss a few mortgage payments and would place those missed payments at the end of their loan without interest.

“They could pay them off when they move or refinance, and they could do it without changes to their monthly mortgage payments. It’s pretty simple. It made a huge difference for men and women who served our country while the VA offered it. We need to bring it back. Across the country, thousands of veterans and their families are currently at risk of losing their homes,” he said.

Brown said he and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Montana, recently introduced the bill to the Senate.

“We need a long-term, permanent solution so that veterans everywhere, Montana, Ohio and elsewhere, can stay in their homes. …They sacrificed, deserved and earned their benefits,” Brown said.

Moore said the VA is also working on creating more options for veterans who are behind on mortgage payments.

“The Veterans Housing Stability Act of 2024 will extend protection to those veterans with VA loans until the VA launches one of their newest home retention options which they’re working on now, which is called a VA Servicing Purchase Program or VASP,” Moore said.

Moore also serves as the state legislative chairman of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Ohio, as well as a member of the National VFW legislative committee.

Moore said that VASP will provide a long-term solution for veterans struggling with mortgage payments.

“The VA’s intention is to purchase defaulted VA loans for mortgage lenders, modify the loans and pass them on. This will empower the VA to work with veterans who experienced severe financial hardship to adjust their loans and their monthly payments so they can keep their homes. It should be a priority for all of us to lessen any hardships created by veterans’ financial difficulties,” Moore said.

Moore also explained that the program will also support taxpayers.

“Those funds needed to pay those mortgage companies come from you, the taxpayer. So anything we can do to make sure they don’t involve that will not only lessen that burden on the veteran but also on the taxpayer,” Moore said.

Moore also explained that the program will improve national security.

“Special consideration must be given to those active duty National Guard and Reserve members who have VA Home Loans. The financial obligation or the delinquency on the loans may jeopardize security clearances. Military personnel that cannot pass a security clearance background check cannot be deployed overseas,” he said.

Moore said the military has been struggling to reach recruitment quotas, so the program is much needed.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody if we can get support for the Veterans Housing Stability Act for 2024,” Moore said.

Brown said the deadline to get the Veterans Housing Stability Act passed is June. He said he is working to get the act introduced to the House of Representatives.

“We will look to find House members that would help. A number of House members from Ohio have done work with veterans stuff,” Brown said.

Brown said he is hopeful that the Veterans Housing Stability Act will pass, but the process will take time.

“We want to pass this bill just to make sure that it becomes more permanent. The VA sometimes moves slowly. They’ve got a lot of other things they look at. They’ve been a good responsive organization, mostly. They serve at any one time 7 million veterans, hundreds of thousands in Ohio. We want to keep working with them because they’re a really important agency for our veterans,” he said.

The VA has paused foreclosures of VA home loans from November through May 31 in response to Brown’s concerns. For more information, visit brown.senate.gov or va.gov.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today