Federal government steps in so group homes can get mortgages

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Josh Anderson, deputy director of residential services at Resources for Human Development, leaves one of the mentally disabled residences the agency rents to Nestidd in the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia. (Michael Bryant / The Philadelphia Inquirer / TNS)

Federal officials are working to ensure that funding does not hamper the development of new group homes.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency say Freddie Mac is clarifying his policies on mortgage loans for properties owned and rented from a group home for people with disabilities.

Freddie Mac, a government-backed company that buys mortgages from lenders, is making it clear that it will buy loans secured by these types of homes. Freddie Mac has said he’s always been willing to buy group home guaranteed mortgages, but the policies in the latest version of his seller / repairer guide released earlier this month are meant to clear up the confusion.

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“We have updated our property eligibility requirements to specifically state that a property used as a group home for people with disabilities is not considered an ineligible property. A mortgage secured by such a property may be eligible for sale, provided it meets the requirements of our guide, ”the guide says.

The move comes after a Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation into a mortgage lender who refused to lend money to a landlord who was renting to a company operating a group home. The lender refused the loan on the basis of the incorrect belief that Freddie Mac would not buy the mortgage.

In response, Freddie Mac worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to revise their policies.

“Clarifying these policies regarding the eligibility of group homes for the secondary mortgage market is an important step in delivering on the Fair Housing Act promise to provide people with disabilities with equal access to housing opportunities,” said Marcia Fudge, Secretary housing and urban development.

The updated policies should encourage lenders to provide mortgages for properties that will be used for group homes and allow more community living options for people with disabilities, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said.

The federal agency noted that group homes still must meet other eligibility criteria for mortgages to be acquired by Freddie Mac.


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