By Matthew Power

Citing a lack of affordable housing, the U.S. House of Representatives in April approved a bill (H.R. 1776) that allows cities to use federal grants to help city employees--firefighters, teachers, etc., purchase homes near where they work. The bill allows local municipalities to tap into Community Development Block Grants and other funding. The program offers a 1 percent down payment option to teachers and city workers on FHA-insured homes. Those eligible can earn up to 115 percent of the area's median income. Police willing to move into high-crime areas pay no down payment at all.