* Ms. LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to extend the Department of Veterans Affairs demonstration projects on adjustable rate mortgages and hybrid adjustable rate mortgages.
* My bill would ensure we continue to provide affordable mortgages for our veterans, who put their lives on the line protecting our freedom. This VA-backed mortgage program is currently set to expire next year.
* In contrast to traditional Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs), VA-guaranteed ARMs limit the annual interest rate adjustment to a maximum increase or decrease of one percent. Over the life of the loan, the interest rate is limited to a maximum increase of five percent. For VA-backed hybrid ARMs, the interest rate adjustment is limited to two percent each year, with a maximum increase of six percent over the life of the loan.
* Compared to a conventional mortgage, VA-backed ARMs and hybrid ARMs make it easier for veterans to obtain affordable financing. If interest rates drop, veterans can save thousands of dollars in mortgage payments. This legislation would make mortgages more affordable and would play an important role in combating veteran homelessness.
* The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that over 100,000 veterans are homeless, while 1.5 million veterans are considered ``at risk'' of homelessness due to poverty and substandard housing arrangements. These mortgage extensions encourage veterans to pursue the American Dream of homeownership and ensure that they are not living on the streets due to the volatility and exposure of traditional mortgages.
* Mr. Speaker, one of the most overarching public policy goals of the Congress and our country is to take care of our veterans. I strongly believe that providing affordable mortgage rates is a key component in our effort to meet this goal. I urge our colleagues to join me in supporting this successful and necessary program.