Congress Closes in on a Different Kind of Trust Fund
The U.S. House of Representatives began debate May 17 on H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007, which includes approximately $600 million a year for an affordable housing fund and would merge this into a future National Housing Trust Fund.
The House debated late into the night but did not finish action on H.R. 1427 and will continue on May 22, when votes will be taken on a number of anti-affordable housing fund amendments.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is joined by more than 5,600 endorsers in support of the establishment of a National Housing Trust Fund, a dedicated source of revenue to support the production, rehabilitation and preservation of 1.5 million rental homes over 10 years, at least 75% of which will be affordable to extremely low income families. The campaign is working with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) to introduce a National Housing Trust Fund bill that closely reflects its legislative proposal.
The need for affordable housing is great. Nationwide, there are only 6,187,000 homes renting at prices affordable to the 9,022,000 extremely low income renter households — a shortage of 2,835,000 homes. Extremely low income households are those with incomes at or below 30% of the area median. Housing is considered affordable if it costs no more than 30% of household income.
The American people understand the need in their communities for homes that are affordable to extremely low income households, such as elderly and disabled people on fixed incomes or low wage workers. On both sides of the aisle, members of Congress are hearing from their constituents about the acute shortage of affordable housing in their home districts and are recognizing their responsibility to expand the federal investment in the creation of housing that the lowest income people can afford. This funding in H.R. 1427 is a major step forward to that end.
On May 17, a long series of amendments to H.R. 1427 were proposed. Four amendments that would get rid of or negatively affect the affordable housing fund were defeated. A fifth amendment to raid the fund for non-housing purposes was found to not be germane to the bill and will not be considered. Seven of the eight amendments that will have roll call votes on May 22 would negatively affect the future of the National Housing Trust Fund. These amendments must be defeated.
We are very, very close to an important victory for the National Housing Trust Fund. Please call your representative and ask him or her to vote no on amendments that weaken or eliminate the fund, vote no on a motion to recommit and vote yes on final passage of H.R. 1427. More information about the National Housing Trust Fund Campaign can be found here.
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