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National Housing Trust Fund bill reintroduced. (Federal Watch).

Representative Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) re-introduced the National Housing Trust Fund at a press conference held March 5 on Capitol Hill.

Nearly 4,000 organizations and elected officials from every state in the country have endorsed the National Housing Trust Fund Campaign. Congressional supporters call the campaign the largest grassroots effort with which they've ever been involved.

"It is unprecedented to have such an out pouring of support from groups across this country to endorse a single bill in Congress, particularly a bill to address the affordable housing crisis," said Sanders at the press conference.

The legislation, HR 1102, had already collected 160 original co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives.

Modeled after the more than 270 state and local housing trust funds, the National Housing Trust Fund Act will provide communities with funds to build, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years, primarily for those households with the most serious housing affordability problems.

The legislation would triple affordable housing construction in the United States by providing the necessary tools to produce, rehabilitate and preserve at least 1.5 million affordable rental units over the next decade.

The National Housing Trust Fund would help solve the affordable housing crisis by generating approximately 1.8 million jobs and creating nearly $50 billion in wages according to the Center for Community Change.

The National Housing Trust Fund Act would use surplus Federal Housing Administration (FHA) funds to be the major dedicated source of revenue for the Trust Fund.

The FHA surplus is money paid in premiums to the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund by owners of FHA insured single family homes that exceeds the amount needed to maintain a 2 percent reserve as is required by law.

The latest actuarial analysis by Deloitte & Touche for FY 2002 projects an excess above the 2 percent reserve requirement of $34.124 billion between now and FY 2009.

The National Housing Trust Fund Act, however, is not without opposition.

The Bush Administration is expected to fight the proposal as financially unsound. The "Oakland Tribune" reports that Housing and Urban Development officials argue that the reserve fund ensures lenders will continue to lend to first-time homebuyers including many African Americans and Hispanics.

The National Housing Trust Fund was introduced in the 107th Congress and amended on to House Resolution 3995, the Housing Affordability for America Act of 2002.

The legislation did not pass the House of Representatives.

For more information, contact John Dailey at (202) 626-3020 or by e-mail at dailey@nlc.org.
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Author:Dailey, John
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 10, 2003
Words:427
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