National Organizations Demand GSEs Begin Payments to National Housing Trust Fund

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2013CONTACT: Amy Clark, amy@nlihc.org, 202.662.1530 x227

National Organizations Demand GSEs Begin Payments to National Housing Trust Fund

Attorneys with Florida Legal Services representing the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance sent a letter today to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Acting Director Edward DeMarco demanding that FHFA release funds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the National Housing Trust Fund, as required by statute.

The National Housing Trust Fund, signed into law in 2008 as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), would build, preserve, rehabilitate and maintain rental homes affordable to extremely low income renter households. The initial funding source for the National Housing Trust Fund was to be a portion of the business volume from government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Soon after passage of HERA, the GSEs were placed into conservatorship and payments to the National Housing Trust Fund were suspended and never made.

According to the letter from attorney Charles Elsesser, “The manner of the suspension and its continued implementation is contrary to the express provisions of the law and beyond any powers of conservatorship.” The letter demands immediate cessation of the suspension and payment to the National Housing Trust Fund all suspended payments since the first quarter of 2012.

While the GSEs were in need of a significant capital infusion at the start of the conservatorship, Fannie Mae enjoyed earnings of over $17.2 billion in 2012. The National Low Income Housing Coalition and Right to the City Alliance argue that “the amount of those additional earnings demonstrate that the mandated allocation could have been made to the Housing Trust Fund without impacting the GSEs in any way,” and that “following the law and funding the Housing Trust Fund would not impact the balance sheet of the GSEs at all but rather simply reduce the amount paid to the Treasury by the amount provided to the Housing Trust Fund.”

Currently, there are 10.1 million extremely low income renter households, and only 3 million rental units affordable and available to them. According to Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “ending the shortage of housing affordable for the lowest income people in our country ought to be a national priority. By bringing the GSEs into compliance with their statutory obligation to fund the National Housing Trust Fund, Mr. DeMarco can begin to address this longstanding and under-recognized problem. Implementing the National Housing Trust is overdue.”

The letter gives Mr. Demarco until April 30, 2013 to address the demands in the letter.

A copy of the letter is available at http://bit.ly/ZllZBP (PDF).