For Immediate Release


Taylor Materio 202-662-1530 x227;

NLIHC President Sheila Crowley Testifies on Principles, Proposals for Housing Finance Reform

WASHINGTON - As Congress considers reform of the housing
finance system, including
overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, NLIHC President Sheila Crowley
testified before Congress on April 14 on principles that should guide
reform. She also called on Congress to fund the National Housing Trust
Fund as
a component of any reform, as a way to address the longstanding shortage
rental housing for the lowest income people.

The hearing, titled
"Housing Finance - What Should the New System Be Able to Do?: Part
II-Government and Stakeholder Perspectives," was held in the House
Financial Services Committee by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA).

"We are interested in the topic of today's
primarily because the housing finance system in the United States to
date has failed
miserably in assuring enough housing for all Americans and we want any
that Congress undertakes to address that serious shortcoming," Ms.
Crowley said in her testimony.

Ms. Crowley identified several principles that
should be used to shape
reform proposals, including:

  • Federal subsidies to the housing
    sector should be directed to meeting the needs of those with the most
    housing problems first.
  • All segments of the housing
    finance sector have a duty to contribute to solving the most serious
  • Federal policy should not favor
    one form of tenure over another; rather, federal policy should
    balance in the housing market and the full range of housing choices in

In support of these reform principles, Ms.
Crowley reiterated the need
for Congress to fund the National Housing Trust Fund, which would
communities with funds to build, rehabilitate and preserve rental
housing for
people with the lowest incomes. Legislation creating the National
Housing Trust
Fund passed in 2008, but Congress has not yet capitalized the fund.

Suggestions for funding sources that could be
dedicated to the National
Housing Trust Fund as part of housing finance system reform include:

  • Fees
    federal support to financial institutions.
    The federal
    provides private financial institutions with low-cost funds through a
    of sources. A 5 basis point annual fee on outstanding low-cost funding
    could raise several billion dollars a year for the NHTF.
  • Securitization
    Congress should levy a fee on the securitization of
    by any capital markets participant.
  • Capital
    tax surcharge.
    Homeowners can take a tax deduction for
    gains on the sale of their homes. A 10% surcharge on the percentage of
    capital gains that a seller realizes at the time of sale would generate
    billion dollars a year.

Sheila Crowley's complete testimony is
available at:

More information on the hearing is available


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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.

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