For Immediate Release
Fannie and Freddie Should be Making Statutorily Required Contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund
WASHINGTON - With this week’s announcements of record profits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the National Low Income Housing Coalition calls on the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Obama Administration to fulfill the statutory requirement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008, signed by President George W. Bush, established the National Housing Trust Fund to build, preserve, rehabilitate, and operate rental housing that is affordable to the lowest income Americans. The law requires that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac transfer a portion of the value of their new business to the National Housing Trust Fund. This requirement was temporarily suspended by the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken into conservatorship.
Given the strong financial position of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the conditions that warranted the suspension in 2008 no longer exist.
“The shortage of affordable homes for low wage workers, low income seniors, and people with disabilities is a national disgrace,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The obligation for Fannie and Freddie to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund is past due. Poor people who could be living in safe, decent, affordable homes if the National Housing Trust Fund has been funded have waited long enough.”
Representing the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance, Attorney Charles Elsesser of Florida Legal Services sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency Acting Director Edward DeMarco demanding that the suspension end immediately and that the National Housing Trust Fund begin to receive contributions.
The letter, sent on April 15, states, “your continuing failure to [make contributions] is a direct violation of the terms of the Act, results in the loss of many hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated by Congress to those most in need of housing and must cease immediately.” Mr. Elsesser says in the letter that “all suspended payments since, at a minimum, the first quarter of 2012” should be applied to the National Housing Trust Fund.
Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund will begin to address the nationwide shortage of 7.1 million rental units that are affordable and available to the poorest households.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.