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Relief for military homeowners contained in stimulus package

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Relief for military homeowners contained in stimulus package
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

The financial strain affecting so many military families required to move in a bad housing market may soon be alleviated in the newly passed $787 billion stimulus package.

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The stimulus -- signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17 -- features a provision titled the Military Homeowners Assistance Program. HAP benefits will be extended to certain military homeowners who bought homes before July 1, 2006 and who sell the homes before Sept. 30, 2012, according to MOAA.com.

HAP was originally written in response to rising foreclosures and the credit crisis, and seeks to add more than $400 million to help military homeowners who are in the middle of foreclosure, or unable to sell their homes in the event of a permanent change of station order.

What's more, HAP will not only provide help to military homeowners who receive PCS orders and are unable to sell their homes, but will also assist wounded warriors who must relocate due to medical reasons, and surviving spouses of fallen service members who are also forced to move.

The bill "will change this country for the better," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., who heads the House Appropriations Committee, in a MarketWatch Report.

The secretary of defense will use these funds to acquire titles to service members' homes or reimburse individuals for losses after a private sales or foreclosures, reports The Washington Post.

"We must stem the spread of foreclosures and falling home values for all Americans and do everything we can to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes," said Obama in a speech after he signed the bill. Additionally, the stimulus will help military families who want to buy their first home. A first-time Homebuyer Tax Credit was included in the stimulus to give prospective home buyers a credit of 10 percent of the purchase price, up to a maximum for $8,000. The previous requirement for consumers buying homes after Jan. 1, 2009 to pay the money back would be removed, unless the house is sold within three years of purchase.

"The Congress and the President understand the deep apprehension that the American people feel ... about the economic security of their families," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in a written statement. "Congress responded with swift, bold, and sweeping legislation that will ...transform our nation."

Please see your local county veterans service officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by e-mail at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us. As always, have a great week.

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