WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) have introduced legislation to grant a federal charter to the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VAREP), thereby designating it as a Veterans Service Organization (VSO). The purpose of such a charter is to promote homeownership among veterans and servicemembers by boosting awareness of Veterans Administration (VA)-specific programs and financial literacy programs that better serve the military population.
“We need to make it easier for our veterans and servicemembers to access the financial savings they have earned while serving our nation. Too many are missing out on tens of thousands of dollars of savings, especially on the largest purchase they may ever make in their life: buying a home,” said Senator Cardin. “Financial literacy education can make a world of difference to our military and their families. We want to give them every opportunity to utilize all the tools and facilities available.”
“We need to give veterans all the resources we can to be successful when they complete their service to our country. This bill will boost awareness of VA programs related to homeownership and personal finance,” said Senator Braun.
“Among the over 100,000 VSO’s and more than 90 congressionally chartered VSOs, VAREP is the only one with a direct understanding of the need to increase sustainable homeownership, financial-literacy education, VA loan awareness, and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities,” said G2 Varrato, National Legislative Committee Director of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals.
Under the federal charter, the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals would work to:
- advocate for and increase sustainable homeownership
- provide financial literacy education
- spread awareness of housing loans guaranteed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and
increase economic opportunities for members of the Armed Forces and veterans.
- establish facilities for the assistance of all veterans, with programs regarding topics including the following:
- financial literacy (including understanding credit)
- workforce development
- small business incubation and mentorship
- education regarding housing, including homelessness prevention, rental counseling, foreclosure prevention, and affordable housing opportunities; and
- suicide awareness and prevention
- provide a forum for real estate and financial service professionals to share ideas, learn, and be empowered to better serve the real estate needs of members of the Armed Forces, veterans, their families, and others
- collaborate with organizations in the real estate and financial services sector to support employment of, and economic and business development for, veterans
This bill follows July legislation introduced by Senator Cardin of the VA Loan Informed Disclosure Act of 2023 (S.2496), which would require a side-by-side comparison between conventional, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Veterans’ Affairs (VA) home loans to be included in the U.S. Department of Housing’s “Informed Consumer Choice Disclosure Notice.” VA home loans can offer veterans, active duty, reservists, and national guard members lower down payments, interest rates, and closing costs, saving them tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Despite these benefits, overall usage of VA home loans is surprisingly low, with only 10 to 15 percent of veterans reported as using the benefit.