April 1, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

Lack of Housing for 7.2 Million of Lowest Income Renters

The Gap: The Affordable Housing Gap Analysis 2016, a new report released recently by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), paints a bleak picture of the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis. The reports finds that there is a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental units for America’s 10.4 million extremely low income (ELI) renter households, those in the bottom 30% of income in their communities. Seventy-five percent of ELI renter households spend more than half of their income for housing, leaving them without enough money for food, medicine, child care, transportation, and other basic necessities, much less a cushion for emergencies. They are at high risk of frequent moves, eviction, and homelessness. NLIHC calls for greater federal investment in the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) and other housing programs to close this ever widening gap. The Gap provides data about the shortage of affordable and available housing for ELI renter households in each of the states, the District of Columbia and the 50 largest metropolitan areas.

NCSHA Submits Comments on FHFA Proposed Duty to Serve Rule

NCSHA recently submitted a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) commenting on its proposed Enterprise Duty to Serve Underserved Markets rule. FHFA's proposal, which was released in December, would require the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to develop and implement plans to serve lower income families through activities related to manufactured housing, rural areas, and preservation. Congress mandated that the GSEs support such activities in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. NCSHA previously summarized the proposed rule on its blog.

Industry Experts Propose New Housing Finance Reform Plan

An independent group of housing industry experts recently released a report proposing a plan for overhauling the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The proposal was drafted by Jim Parrot of the Urban Institute, mortgage investor Lew Ranieri, former presidential advisor Gene Sperling, Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics, and Barry Zigas of the Consumer Federation of America. The report, entitled "A More Promising Road to GSE Reform," calls for the GSEs' single-family and multifamily operations to be merged together into a new government corporation, the National Mortgage Reinsurance Corporation (NMRC). Just as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do today, the NMRC would purchase mortgage loans and package them into mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and sell the MBSs to investors. NMRC would charge a guarantee fee (g-fee) for each mortgage it purchases. Unlike the current system, MBSs issued by NMRC would be explicitly backed by the federal government. NMRC would also be expected to enter into syndicated risk-sharing arrangements for all securities it issues that put private investors in a first-loss position.

Cantwell Launches National Campaign to Increase Federal Resources for Affordable Housing

Senator, Mayors Murray, Strickland and Stephanson, along with advocates announce ambitious goals to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit - an important federal tool for financing affordable housing.  U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson, and the A.C.T.I.O.N. campaign – a coalition of more than 1,300 national, state, and local affordable housing advocates who are urging Congress to expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) – kicked off a national campaign to increase federal resources for affordable housing. Senator Cantwell called for a 50 percent expansion of the LIHTC, reforms to better target the lowest income populations with LIHTC projects, and unveiled her report, “Addressing the Challenges of Affordable Housing & Homelessness: The Housing Tax Credit.”

Representative Waters Introduces Emergency Relief Legislation to End Homelessness

House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the Ending Homelessness Act of 2016, H.R. 4888, which would provide $13.27 billion over five years to housing and services programs with the goal of ending homelessness in America. Announcing her new legislation, Representative Waters argued that homelessness is not an insurmountable problem but requires "the political will to put the necessary resources behind the solutions we know will work" and called on Democrats and Republicans to come together to end the homelessness crisis through increased resources.

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