The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Taylor Materio, 202-662-1530 x227;

NLIHC's Sheila Crowley Testifies on Funding for National Housing Trust Fund


Low Income Housing Coalition President Sheila Crowley testified before the
House Financial Services Committee on July 9 in support of newly introduced
legislation that would provide funding for the National Housing Trust Fund for
fiscal year 2010.

The National Housing
Trust Fund was signed into law in July 2008 but has not yet received funding.
Once funded, the housing trust fund will provide communities across the country
with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are
affordable for extremely and very low income households.

A bill introduced by
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), the TARP for
Main Street Act of 2009 (H.R. 3068), would designate $1 billion to the National
Housing Trust Fund from dividends paid by financial institutions that received
TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds.

TARP allocated $700
billion in taxpayer dollars to prevent the failure of major private, for-profit
institutions caught up in the mortgage crisis. According to the GAO, by June
12, 2009, the Treasury Department had received approximately $6.2 billion in
dividend payments from financial and other institutions that received TARP

Ms. Crowley testified
that the National Housing Trust Fund is needed now more than ever. She noted
that earlier this year when the unemployment rate was expected to reach 9%,
800,000 new people a year were predicted to become homeless. Unemployment has now
exceeded 9% and shows no signs of letting up.

"In the absence of
new resources that will expand the supply of homes that people who are elderly,
disabled, employed in the low wage work force, or out of work all together can
afford, we will see a growth in homelessness that rivals the recession of the
early 1980s," Ms Crowley said. "We made the mistake back then of
thinking it was a temporary problem that could be addressed by providing
temporary shelter, instead of providing permanent housing. We know better now
and should not repeat the same mistake."

The TARP for Main Street
Act would also provide a third round of funding for the Neighborhood
Stabilization Program, funds for mortgage relief for homeowners who have lost
their jobs, and funds to stabilize troubled or foreclosed multifamily

Other witnesses at the
hearing included: William C. Apgar, Senior Advisor to the Secretary for
Mortgage Finance, HUD; Gary Engel, Director, Financial Management and
Assurance, GAO; Frank Apeseche, CEO, Berkshire Property Advisors and the
Berkshire Group on behalf of the National Multi Housing Council; Mark Calabria,
Director, Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute; Brian Hudson, Executive
Director, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Damon Silver, Associate General
Counsel, AFL-CIO; and Chris Warren, Chief of Regional Development, City of
Cleveland, Office of the Mayor.

The National Housing
Trust Fund is the first federal rental housing production program that is
specifically targeted to extremely low income households since the Section 8
program was established in 1974.

full testimony is available at:

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.