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                                                       PRINTER'S NO. 518



No. 474 Session of 2007

           MARCH 15, 2007


                                     AN ACT

     1  Amending the act of December 3, 1959 (P.L.1688, No.621),
     2     entitled, as amended, "An act to promote the health, safety
     3     and welfare of the people of the Commonwealth by broadening
     4     the market for housing for persons and families of low and
     5     moderate income and alleviating shortages thereof, and by
     6     assisting in the provision of housing for elderly persons
     7     through the creation of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance
     8     Agency as a public corporation and government
     9     instrumentality; providing for the organization, membership
    10     and administration of the agency, prescribing its general
    11     powers and duties and the manner in which its funds are kept
    12     and audited, empowering the agency to make housing loans to
    13     qualified mortgagors upon the security of insured and
    14     uninsured mortgages, defining qualified mortgagors and
    15     providing for priorities among tenants in certain instances,
    16     prescribing interest rates and other terms of housing loans,
    17     permitting the agency to acquire real or personal property,
    18     permitting the agency to make agreements with financial
    19     institutions and Federal agencies, providing for the purchase
    20     by persons of low and moderate income of housing units, and
    21     approving the sale of housing units, permitting the agency to
    22     sell housing loans, providing for the promulgation of
    23     regulations and forms by the agency, prescribing penalties
    24     for furnishing false information, empowering the agency to
    25     borrow money upon its own credit by the issuance and sale of
    26     bonds and notes and by giving security therefor, permitting
    27     the refunding, redemption and purchase of such obligations by
    28     the agency, prescribing remedies of holders of such bonds and
    29     notes, exempting bonds and notes of the agency, the income
    30     therefrom, and the income and revenues of the agency from
    31     taxation, except transfer, death and gift taxes; making such

     1     bonds and notes legal investments for certain purposes; and
     2     indicating how the act shall become effective," establishing
     3     the Firefighter Mortgage Assistance Program.

     4     The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
     5  hereby enacts as follows:
     6     Section 1.  The act of December 3, 1959 (P.L.1688, No.621),
     7  known as the Housing Finance Agency Law, is amended by adding an
     8  article to read:
     9                            ARTICLE IV-D
    11  Section 401-D.  Definitions.
    12     The following words and phrases when used in this article
    13  shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
    14  context clearly indicates otherwise:
    15     "Applicant."  A firefighter who applies for a grant or loan
    16  under the Firefighters Mortgage Assistance Program established
    17  in section 402-D for the purpose of financing the purchase of
    18  residential property.
    19     "Firefighter."  A person who provides services, without
    20  receipt of remuneration for those services as either of the
    21  following:
    22         (1)  A volunteer member of a fire company, organized and
    23     existing under the laws of this Commonwealth.
    24         (2)  A volunteer member of any fire police unit, rescue
    25     squad, ambulance corps or other like organization affiliated
    26     with one or more fire companies.
    27  The term includes a person who is a member of such a fire
    28  company or affiliated organization and who participates in the
    29  fire service without receipt of remuneration for that
    30  participation.
    31     "Participating municipality."  A city, township, borough or
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     1  incorporated town that, by resolution of its legislative body,
     2  elects to participate in the Firefighter Mortgage Assistance
     3  Program established in section 402-D.
     4     "Program."  The Firefighter Mortgage Assistance Program
     5  established under section 402-D.
     6     "Residential property."  A single-family residence or unit
     7  located in a participating municipality.
     8  Section 402-D.  Establishment of program.
     9     The agency shall develop and, in cooperation with
    10  participating municipalities, administer a program, to be known
    11  as the Firefighter Mortgage Assistance Program, to encourage
    12  firefighters to purchase and live in residential property in the
    13  municipalities in which they serve. Under the program, the
    14  agency shall provide grants of up to $5,000 or low-interest
    15  loans to firefighters for the purchase of residential property
    16  in such municipalities, in accordance with the provisions of
    17  this article. The agency shall provide not more than $10,000,000
    18  for the program. With regard to a grant issued under the
    19  program, after each year of service following the purchase of
    20  the home, $1,000 will be credited towards the grant, whereby
    21  after five years, the grant shall be forgiven.
    22  Section 403-D.  Eligibility.
    23     (a)  General rule.--Subject to the provisions of subsection
    24  (b), an applicant who seeks assistance under this article must:
    25         (1)  Be a firefighter.
    26         (2)  Certify intent to use the grant or loan funds in
    27     connection with the purchase of residential property located
    28     in the municipality in which the applicant volunteers.
    29         (3)  Certify intent to own and reside at the residential
    30     property on a permanent and full-time basis for at least five
    20070S0474B0518                  - 3 -     

     1     years.
     2     (b)  Limitation.--No firefighter shall be eligible under this
     3  article for more than one outstanding grant or mortgage loan at
     4  a time, and no person shall be eligible to receive a second
     5  grant or mortgage loan on a residential property already
     6  mortgaged by the firefighter. Preference shall be given in
     7  making grants and loans to volunteer firefighters who are
     8  applying to acquire or construct a first residential property.
     9  Section 404-D.  Enforcement of residency requirement.
    10     The agency may enforce the five-year residency agreement set
    11  forth in section 403-D(a)(3) through the use of restrictive
    12  mortgage covenants, deed restrictions or other penalties deemed
    13  appropriate by the agency to accomplish the legislative purpose
    14  of encouraging firefighters to purchase a residential property
    15  and reside in the municipality in which they volunteer.
    16  Section 405-D.  Occupancy requirement.
    17     (a)  General rule.--A firefighter who receives a grant or
    18  loan under this article shall, within 120 days of the date on
    19  which the grant or loan is made, occupy the residence as the
    20  firefighter's principal dwelling place.
    21     (b)  Effect of resignation and sale.--If a firefighter who
    22  receives a grant resigns from employment, sells or ceases to
    23  occupy the residence as the volunteer firefighter's principal
    24  residence, the amount of the grant remaining unforgiven in
    25  accordance with section 402-D shall be repaid to the agency on
    26  the 120th day following that action.
    27  Section 406-D.  Bonds and notes.
    28     The agency shall borrow money for the operation and
    29  administration of the program by the making of notes and by the
    30  issuance of bonds in accordance with the provisions of Article
    20070S0474B0518                  - 4 -     

     1  V.
     2  Section 407-D.  Regulations.
     3     The agency shall promulgate regulations to carry out the
     4  provisions of this article.
     5     Section 2.  This act shall take effect in 60 days.

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