On September 29, Federal District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke ruled that NLIHC, the Right to the City Alliance (RTTC), and three individual plaintiffs did not have standing to sue the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for not lifting the suspension on Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s obligation to provide funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The judge also ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction over the actions of the FHFA. NLIHC and the other plaintiffs will make a decision about an appeal in the coming weeks.
In the case of Samuels v. FHFA filed on July 9, 2013, Angela Samuels, Rossana Torres, and Danielle Stelutto, along with NLIHC and RTTC, sought to compel the Director of FHFA to allow Fannie and Freddie to make payments to the NHTF as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) (see Memo, 7/12/13). Ms. Samuels, Ms. Torres, and Ms. Stelluto are extremely low income people who lack decent, affordable homes. The plaintiffs were represented by former NLIHC board member Charles Elsesser of Florida Legal Services and the law firm of Holland & Knight LLP.
In a statement released after the ruling, NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley and RTTC Executive Director Rachel LaForest said, “While we are disappointed in Judge Marcia G. Cooke’s ruling…, we will continue our advocacy for the affordable housing that the NHTF would provide.” They also said, “The case was dismissed on two threshold questions without consideration of the fundamental issue of funding for the NHTF.”
NLIHC and RTTC called on FHFA Director Mel Watt to lift the suspension now. Along with funding for the NHTF, lifting the suspension would allow funding to begin for the Capital Magnet Fund, also created in HERA.
To read the press statement, go to http://nlihc.org/press/releases/5135.
To read the decision, go to http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Samuels_v_FHFA_9-29-14.pdf.
To read an article by John Griffith and Andrew Jakabovics of Enterprise Community Partners concerning the case published in the American Banker, go to http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/the-other-fannie-and-freddie-lawsuit-1070349-1.html