Friday, July 25, 2003
VA housing officials ends 'family rule' on home loans
A story published today by the Virginian-Pilot reports that Virginia's state housing officials voted unanimously this morning to lift the ban on home loans to unmarried couples.
Members of the Board of Commissioners for the Virginia Housing Development Authority said the policy was an unnecessary burden on low-income elderly and disabled people, single parents and other non-traditional families seeking affordable homes.
The housing authority vote ends the "family rule," which required people applying jointly for a low-interest loan to be related by blood, marriage or adoption. The rule has been in force since the early 1980s except for a two-year suspension in the mid-90s.
Commissioner Jay Fisette, an Arlington County Board member who is Virginia's first openly gay elected official, responded to those comments today.
"As an elected official in my own community, as a gay man, as a man in a 20-year relationship with my partner, I think that if I needed it, my partner and I should qualify for a VHDA loan." said Commissioner Jay Fisette, an Arlington County Board member who is Virginia's first openly gay elected official.
Leaders of the socially conservative Family Foundation of Virginia say they will ask the state legislature next year to pass a law reinstating the family rule. Members of the Family Foundation said the rule is needed to prevent the housing authority from granting loans to gay couples.
Seven of the 11 VHDA commissioners have been appointed by Gov. Mark R. Warner, who favored the repeal of the family rule.
Individual first-time homebuyers are eligible for VHDA loans regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status. However, they are unable to count the incomes of their partners to qualify as credit-worthy.