Portman bill to protect Habitat for Humanity signed into law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump signed into law Thursday the bipartisan Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act as part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act.

The HOME Act was authored by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to ensure that Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other organizations can receive donated appraisals on the homes they build.

“Habitat for Humanity makes an indispensable contribution to Ohio, providing safe and affordable homes for families in need. I’m proud to have authored this law that will ensure that Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other nonprofits can receive donated appraisals on the homes they build to ensure they remain affordable,” Portman said. “This law will make it easier for Habitat to carry out its mission by eliminating unnecessary red tape and freeing up more resources that Habitat can use to help more people in Ohio and across our great country. I want to thank the president for signing this important legislation into law. I’m also pleased that this important measure provides regulatory relief for smaller banks and credit unions. It will make it easier to extend credit, loans, and mortgages, and provide other products and services to working families in Ohio and around the country.”

“We have long appreciated Sen. Portman’s strong support of the work of our 52 Habitat affiliates to end poverty housing in Ohio, and thank the Senator for introducing this important legislation. Donated goods and services help Habitat keep home prices low, and more qualified Ohioans will become Habitat homeowners if this bill is enacted,” said Ryan Miller, executive director, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio.

“Habitat for Humanity greatly appreciates Sen. Portman’s sponsoring legislation to ensure appraisers can continue to voluntarily donate their services to Habitat affiliates,” said Christopher Ptomey, Habitat for Humanity International’s director of government relations. “With Habitat affiliates annually providing approximately 4,000 homeownership opportunities to lower-income families in the United States, each of which will require an appraisal, this legislation will save Habitat affiliates millions of dollars annually and maximize the impact of limited donor and government funding for qualified families in need of decent housing.”

The Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act was passed by the Senate on March 14 as section 102 of the Senate Banking Committee’s bipartisan financial regulatory relief bill, the Economic Growth Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155). Portman has spoken on the Senate floor about this legislation and his legislation to help Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofits.

Dodd-Frank regulations required that fee appraisers receive “customary and reasonable” compensation for their services. This is an important issue for Habitat, as many affiliates accept donated appraisals of the homes they build. If affiliates were forced to start paying these appraisal fees, it would have increased the cost for local Habitat groups of every home built. Since local Habitat groups cannot recover the additional cost by raising the price of the home on the low-income families they serve, the loss of donated appraisals would mean that affiliates would serve fewer American families each year. This law provides certainty to groups like Habitat for Humanity, for whom the lack of formal, federal guidance regarding donated appraisals represents an ongoing legal and liability risk across the country.

Portman is a regular volunteer and longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity. In 2016, Portman joined Owens Corning and the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity for a major neighborhood revitalization project known as the “Buckeye Build.” The Buckeye Build Project – which took place in Cleveland’s historic Buckeye Neighborhood – fully rehabilitated two houses on Grandview Avenue, assisted approximately 15 current residents with exterior improvements, and provided new roofs and attic insulation for five homes. Portman returned to the site later that year to continue the build and finally in December 2016 for the dedication of two completed homes. Last December, Portman volunteered on his birthday, as he does every year, for another Habitat build.