Queens Rep. Grace Meng introduces bipartisan bill that aims to help veterans purchase co-ops

Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng’s office

U.S. Reps Grace Meng (D-NY) and Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) have introduced a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for veterans from Queens and across the country to purchase co-ops.

The legislation, dubbed the Fair Access to Co-Ops for Veteran Act, would permanently expand the Veterans Home Loan Guarantee Program to co-ops. If passed, the new bill would guarantee co-op loans for eligible veterans. It would also allow the United States Department of Veteran Affairs to advertise the co-op program to veterans, lenders and realtors. 

Meng—who represents Central Queens—testified in support of the bill on Capitol Hill last week. She went before the House Veteran Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity to advocate for an expansion of the loan program. Meng added that the co-op program would help veterans become homeowners.  

The VA home loan program has been a transformative benefit for service members for 80 years,” Meng said during the hearing. “But this program cannot be fully enjoyed by New Yorkers who served in our armed forces. Co-ops on average are more affordable in New York than condos or homes. They offer a realistic way for New Yorkers to own their place and build equity.”   

Malliotakis, who represents Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, echoed Meng’s views, adding that it is important to provide access to co-ops to lessen the burden on veterans who are looking for affordable housing.

“I’m proud to join Rep. Meng in introducing this bipartisan legislation to make co-ops available for VA home loans, expand affordable housing options for our veterans and make their post-service lives a little bit easier,” Malliotakis said.

In 2006, Congress passed a bill that created a five-year pilot program that allowed veterans to purchase co-ops through the VA Home Loan Guarantee Program. Prior to the pilot program, veterans were unable to tap into such loans. The pilot program, however, expired in 2011 and has not been renewed.

The Veterans Home Loan Guarantee Program helps veterans, servicemembers and eligible spouses to become homeowners. Loans from private lenders are provided to eligible individuals, and the VA guarantees up to 50% of loan amount, which results in members receiving lower interest rates and greater access to funds.