On the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the National Housing Trust Fund, the National Housing Trust Fund campaign calls on Congress and the Administration to capitalize the fund so communities can begin building, rehabilitating and preserving homes for the lowest income families. The National Housing Trust Fund was created as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on July 30, 2008. President Barack Obama has expressed continued support of the National Housing Trust Fund both during his campaign and as President, most recently in a Statement of Administration Policy issued by the White House. However, the National Housing Trust Fund has not yet received funding. The initial funds were to have come from contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but those were suspended when the companies got into financial trouble.
President Obama proposed $1 billion in mandatory spending for the trust fund as part of his FY10 budget request. Unfortunately, the Administration has not yet identified a dedicated source for the funding. House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) recently proposed providing the fund with $1 billion in FY10 from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) enacted last fall. The Obama Administration has not endorsed using TARP funds for this purpose.
“The National Housing Trust Fund is needed now to create more homes that are affordable to the lowest income families, which include seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, children, members of the low wage workforce, and the newly unemployed. We must prevent the rapid expansion of homelessness as a result of this recession,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition President Sheila Crowley.
“There may be a surplus of housing in the U.S. right now, but not for people with limited incomes. While there was an overall gain in the total number of rental housing units between 2005 and 2007, there was an actual loss of 1.5 million rental units affordable to very low income households during that period,” Crowley said. “Affordable homes for the lowest income people have been in short supply for a long time; the housing bust and recession have only made it worse.”
“One year ago, we created the National Housing Trust Fund so that our friends and neighbors might never be without homes for themselves and their families,” said National Alliance to End Homelessness President Nan Roman. “In this time of economic uncertainty and financial hardship, more and more families are struggling to make ends meet every month. The National Housing Trust Fund can and will assist families with their housing obligations and help ensure that everyone in this country has a place to call home.”
The National Housing Trust Fund is the first new federal housing production program to serve extremely low income families since 1974. Its most important features are:
● It is a permanent program to be capitalized with dedicated sources of revenue.
● At least 90 percent of the funds must be used for the production, preservation or rehabilitation of rental homes.
● At least 75 percent of the funds for rental housing must benefit extremely low income (30 percent of area median income or less) households. All funds must benefit very low income households (50 percent of area median income or less).
“The promise of the National Housing Trust Fund is tremendous. Now we must turn a legislative accomplishment into a place to call home for the millions of low income Americans who need it,” said National Policy and Advocacy Council on Homelessness Executive Director Jeremy Rosen.
The National Housing Trust Fund campaign has been endorsed by more than 5,700 organizations and state and local elected officials.
For more information, visit www.nhtf.org.