April 4, 2017

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

Housing Advocates Say Trump Budget Cuts Would Eliminate More Than 7,400 Housing Vouchers for Poor, Elderly and Disabled Virginians 

At least 7,400 low-income, elderly and disabled Virginians and their families would lose help with housing under President Donald Trump’s efforts to exorcise federal bloat, analysts say.
The cuts unveiled as part of a spending plan for the next fiscal year would slash funds that are used to staff and repair public housing communities and reduce the number of vouchers issued to some of Virginia’s most vulnerable families. The state’s largest housing authorities — in Richmond and Norfolk — say they already have a combined total of 16,829 people on waiting lists for the vouchers, which subsidize housing in the private market for qualifying residents. Those who do qualify typically pay about 30 percent of their monthly income in rent.

FHFA Report Details Progress on the 2016 Scorecard for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac  

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Progress Report summarizing the 2016 activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) to further FHFA's three strategic objectives as conservator: Maintain, Reduce, and Build. The Progress Report details efforts made to address borrower impediments to credit access while transitioning from crisis era policies and programs to those that will help borrowers and communities that are still struggling.  The Report also describes advances made in the Enterprises' credit risk transfer programs and other activities designed to increase the role of private capital in the secondary mortgage market and reduce risk for taxpayers.  The Report also describes the successful implementation of Release 1 of the Common Securitization Platform, a significant milestone toward the ultimate goals of building a new securitization infrastructure and issuance by both Enterprises of a single, common security.   In addition, the Progress Report documents Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's ongoing actions to promote diversity and inclusion in furtherance of the strategic goals of the conservatorships.

Innovations in Credit Scoring Could Help More Families Become First-Time Homebuyers

What do young families in Orange County, California, and Selma, Alabama, have in common? Families in both places struggle to qualify for a mortgage and get into their first home, in part because of overly restrictive credit-scoring systems. Can new scoring models, or data about rent and utility payments, help these families become homeowners? At an event at the Urban Institute, representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) discussed the difficulties their constituents have getting their first foot onto the homeownership ladder, whether that means a stick-built house in California or a manufactured home in Alabama. Royce and Sewell cosponsored the Credit Score Competition Act (H. R. 898), designed to encourage innovation in credit scoring through competition among credit-scoring systems for the business of lenders selling loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government-sponsored enterprises).

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