FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 28, 2010 “First Mike” signs public/private agreement to promote VA benefits Seattle, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC), Washington Association of Realtors®, and Washington state’s First Gentleman Mike Gregoire today signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at helping veteran homebuyers get connected with their VA benefits and entitlements. The signing took place at the Housing Finance Commission Work Session held in Seattle. "This is a great example of a public-private partnership that will help our veterans get better access to the benefits available to them,” Mike Gregoire said. “Our state’s extensive network of realtors will help veterans get the homes they want and deserve.” By working with the Washington Realtors® and their nearly 19,000 members, WDVA and WSHFC will expand awareness about the many programs and services available for veterans and their families. All three entities will promote the partnership through information sharing on websites, in education seminars and with services. WDVA will contact all veterans and families referred to by Realtors as well as supply Realtors with educational information to provide clients. The Realtors will advise and introduce resources available to veterans during the home buying process. The WSHFC will provide assistance with mortgage programs to help veterans qualify for loans or down payment assistance, such as the House Key Veterans Down Payment Assistance program. “Realtors, who are often veterans themselves, are in every community and have face-to- face contact with clients,” noted Bill Riley, Washington Realtor President. “Realtors help many people negotiate the largest investment they make in a lifetime. For that reason, Realtors can be effective outreach to our veterans, sharing information about services available through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.” Washington state is home to nearly 700,000 veterans. Their honorable military service means they are entitled to a host of benefits ranging from education to health care to home loans and employment. Often, veterans and families have entitlements to benefits, but do not know they are eligible or how to access them. ### A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding is available at: http://www.dva.wa.gov/homeloans.html For more information or interviews please contact Barbara Lally, Director of Public Affairs for Washington REALTORS®, at 360.561.4848; Karen Carlson Washington State Housing Finance Commission 206-287-4413 email@example.com or Heidi Audette, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs at 360-725-2154 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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