WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced legislation to ensure that Habitat for Humanity affiliates and other similar organizations can continue to receive donated appraisals on the homes they build, removing an unnecessary obstacle to Habitat’s mission of helping the homeless.
“By providing safe and affordable homes for families in need, Habitat for Humanity makes a vital contribution to Ohio,” Portman said. “This common-sense bill will make it easier for Habitat to carry out its mission by eliminating an unnecessary regulation and freeing up more resources that Habitat can use to help more people in Ohio and across our great 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 home ownership 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.”
According to Sen. Portman’s office, Dodd-Frank regulations require 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 must begin paying these appraisal fees, it will increase 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 means that affiliates will serve fewer American families each year. Portman’s office said this bill will provide 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 to low-income housing organizations across the country.
Portman is a regular volunteer and longtime supporter of Habitat for Humanity, which helps provide affordable housing to low-income families.
Last July, 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 in October to continue the build and again in December for the dedication of two completed homes. In December in Cincinnati, Portman volunteered on his birthday, as he does every year, for another Habitat build.
The effect of the legislation on local charitable housing organizations, if passed, is still uncertain. John Hensley, director of the Fuller Center for Housing in Darke County said the group is no longer under the umbrella of Habitat for Humanity, but has the same founder and would apply to the Fuller Center.
“This legislation would have the same impact upon The Fuller Center as it does for Habitat and probably for others as well,” he said. “I have not read the actual bill itself. We shall wait and see what the outcome of this bill will look like.”
The Fuller Center has built 15 houses and refurbished several others in the community, plus untold additions and other various projects.