In a joint letter to Congressional leaders, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Charities USA expressed their support for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) and their “concern with efforts to undermine or eliminate it.”
The letter is in response to the objections raised by several Republicans in both the Senate and the House to the decision by Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt to direct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside funds for the NHTF and the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF). Specifically, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) has introduced a bill that would prohibit Fannie and Freddie from funding the NHTF and the CMF as long as the companies remain in conservatorship (see Memo, 2/2).
The March 17 letter is addressed to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) with an identical letter sent to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA). The letter is signed by Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who chairs the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Sister Donna Markham, the President Elect of Catholic Charities USA.
In the letter, Bishop Wenski and Sister Donna say that “Catholic tradition teaches that affordable and decent housing is a human right, and for over a decade our organizations have supported the NHTF because it could be powerful tool in advancing this right.” Both organizations are longtime members of the NHTF Campaign.
The letters are posted at http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/USCCB-CCUSA_NHTF_repeal_to_BHUA_3.2015_FINAL.pdf and http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/USCCB-CCUSA_NHTF_repeal_to_FSC_3.2015_FINAL.pdf.