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Teachers Get Some Needed Extra Credit


* The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program announced by Angelides early this year. This program is available to teachers who agree to serve in low-performing schools for five years. Teachers who are applying for assistance under Teacher Flex can also apply for this program if they meet the requirements, Smith said.

The $150-million Extra Credit program could provide 4,000 teachers a tax credit of 15% of their mortgage interest, worth up to $1,800 a year. Officials will start accepting applications for the program in the fall.

* The "Teacher Next Door" program introduced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development last year. The effort is based on HUD's popular "Officer Next Door" home loan program.

For teachers, HUD offers a 50% discount on homes that have been foreclosed on by the Federal Housing Administration in distressed neighborhoods. Teachers must promise to live in the homes for up to three years.

The government reduced the down payment requirement to $100 on these homes if they are purchased with FHA-insured mortgages. So far, about 120 homes are in escrow under the program in 14 states. About 34 of these homes are in California.

* The American Home Ownership and Economic Opportunity Act of 2000 being debated in Congress now. This housing reform package would allow public and private schoolteachers to qualify to buy homes with minimal down payments and deeply discounted property prices.

Under the bill, teachers would be able to obtain mortgages with 1% down for up to $219,849 through the Federal Housing Administration. Teachers would also be able to buy houses at 50% discounts off appraised market values and with $100 down payments.

To qualify, teachers would need to be employed full time in elementary or secondary school education and must not have owned a home in the local school district for the last year. The legislation is set for final action in the U.S. House of Representatives and could be heard by the Senate later this session.

For More Information * Teacher Flex: See or call Bank of America at (888) 815-2724 to apply over the phone or visit a Bank of America branch to apply in person.

* CalSTRS Home Loan: Visit or call CalSTRS at (800) 228-5453.

* Teacher Next Door: Visit or call HUD at (800) 217-6970.

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