Housing advocates have begun to respond to the Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform discussion draft legislation (see Memo, 3/14). Affordable housing advocates, led by NLIHC, have applauded the emphasis on the NHTF in the bill. NLIHC is circulating a sign-on letter to thank Senate Banking Committee Chair Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) for their treatment of the NHTF in their bill. The letter, which closes for signatories at COB, Monday, March 31, has over 650 organizational signatories. Advocates are encouraged to sign on the letter and to forward the letter to their networks. A link to the letter is provided below. The letter does not comment on or endorse other portions of the bill.
The Johnson-Crapo bill would eliminate the affordable housing goals that required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lend to underserved communities. Although some groups argue that the goals should be preserved, there appears to be little appetite among legislators to do so. The market incentive fee structure in Johnson-Crapo was based on a proposal offered by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) as an alternative to the goals in their current form. However, NCRC does not think the bill goes far enough to guarantee that all credit worthy borrowers will be served.
Seven civil rights groups issued a statement saying that they could not support the Johnson-Crapo bill in its current form but that they looked forward to working with the bill’s sponsors to improve the legislation. The groups said jointly in their statement, “Chief among the concerns expressed by the groups was the need for broad access and affordability of the housing finance system. Provisions in the proposed legislation, including those pertaining to down payment requirements and the responsibility to serve the entire market, may prevent families who could afford a mortgage from obtaining one. The bill lacks provisions to ensure that the housing finance system is fair and non-discriminatory. Moreover, the changes proposed in the reform bill may disadvantage smaller and rural lenders that serve already under-serviced portions of the population.” The signatories are: the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the National Council of La Raza, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Urban League, and the Center for Responsible Lending.
The response to the bill’s multifamily provisions, which are largely based on a proposal by Enterprise Community Partners, has been quite positive. The National Multi Housing Council said in a press release, “We appreciate that this proposal recognizes the meaningful differences between the multifamily and single-family businesses and retains many of the successful components of the existing multifamily programs. Specific elements in the legislation ensure that the $1.1 trillion apartment industry can meet the needs of our 35 million residents who now call an apartment home – and the millions more who will.”
Sign on to the Johnson-Crapo thank you letter at: http://bit.ly/1ldoM9X
Read the Johnson-Crapo thank you letter at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Johnson-Crapo-TY.pdf
Read the civil rights statement at: http://bit.ly/PatiKW
The NCRC proposal is available at: http://bit.ly/1lZua02
Read the National Multi-Housing Council’s press release at: http://bit.ly/1pDj5ls