[StBernard] FSC Website Update- Press Release

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Wed Oct 10 22:03:31 EDT 2007

House of Representatives Passes Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act

Washington, DC -- The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2895,
the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007 by a vote of 264 to
148. The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund will be the largest
expansion in federal housing programs in decades, with a goal of producing,
rehabilitating and preserving 1.5 million housing units over the next 10
years. The bill as will initially allocate between $800 million and $1
billion annually directly to states and local communities, without
increasing government spending or the federal deficit.

"The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund addresses the affordable housing
crisis as it affects every level of society. Right now, housing costs are
outstripping wages for more households than ever before, and working is
simply no longer a guarantee of being able to afford housing" said Rep.
Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing
and Community Opportunity. "It has been seventeen years since the federal
government last enacted a major affordable housing production program, and I
am pleased that this legislation will tackle the full range of housing
crises, providing relief to overburdened renters and homeowners while
targeting funds where the need is greatest."

"The growing shortage of affordable housing is one of the most serious
social and economic problems facing our country. Given our severely
constrained fiscal realities, we are today doing the best we can to address
this - creating a low income housing trust fund that will be paid for in
ways that do not draw from federal tax revenues," said Rep. Barney Frank,
Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services.

The National Affordable Housing Trust Fund is an important step in
addressing the affordable housing crisis in our country. Over the last
several years, many people purchased homes with mortgages they could not
afford because they believed it was one of the few avenues to achieving a
decent place to live. In addition to the trust fund, the House of
Representatives passed last month, H.R. 1852, the Expanding American
Homeownership Act of 2007, to reform the Federal Housing Administration
(FHA), which will enable the program to serve more subprime borrowers at
affordable rates and terms, recapture borrowers that may have received risky
loan products in recent years, and offer refinancing opportunities to
borrowers currently struggling.

Additionally, on May 23, 2007, the House passed H.R. 1427, reforms of the
Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the
Federal Home Loan Bank system, allowing these entities to purchase more
loans in higher cost areas (lowering interest rates for new homes and
refinances in those areas). The bill also seeks to increase liquidity now by
asking federal regulators to reconsider artificial restrictions on the
number of loans that the GSEs can own.

Summary of the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act

Funding of the Trust Fund: The goal of the Trust Fund is to construct,
rehabilitate, and preserve 1,500,000 units of housing over the next 10
years. The bill seeks to accomplish this with funding from the proposed GSE
Affordable Housing Fund (H.R. 1427), FHA savings that result from the
enactment of the Expanding American

Homeownership Act (HR 1852), and any other sources of funds subsequently

Formula under the Trust Fund: 60% of monies will go to participating local
jurisdictions and 40% to states, Indian Tribes and insular areas. A
proportionate amount of funds to States must go to rural areas in each
State. If the total amount available in any year is less than $2 billion,
there is a $750,000 minimum funding threshold for local jurisdictions.

Targeting under the Trust Fund: All Trust Fund monies must be used for low
income families (below 80% of state or local median income), except that
this income ceiling is reduced to 60% of local median income if annual
funding in any year is less than $2 billion. At least 75% of funds must go
to extremely low-income families (below 30% of median income or below the
national poverty level). At least 30% of funds must go to families with
incomes below the SSI income limit. In addition, at least 10% of funds must
go to families with incomes over 50% of the local area median income.

Eligible Recipients of Trust Fund Monies: States, participating local
jurisdictions, and insular areas are required to make Trust Fund grants to
eligible recipients, which can be any organization, agency, or other entity,
including for-profits, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations, that have
demonstrated the experience and the capacity to carry out the proposed Trust
Fund activity. HUD allocates grants to Indian tribes by competition.

Eligible Uses of Trust Fund Monies: The bill would allow Trust Fund monies
for construction, rehabilitation, acquisition, preservation incentives
(including for manufactured housing and community land trusts) and operating
assistance to facilitate affordability. Funds may be used for both rental
housing that is affordable and for down payment and closing cost assistance
by first time homebuyers.

Prohibited Uses: The bill includes prohibitions against any funds being
used for administrative costs or expenses, political activities, advocacy,
lobbying, counseling, travel expenses, and preparation of or advice on tax
returns. In addition there is a requirement that grantee develop systems to
ensure program compliance, and require annual state fund use reports, and
authority for HUD to impose penalties on states that do not comply with
requirements, including requiring states and grantees to reimburse misused

Matching Requirements of the Trust Fund: The bill requires a match for
Trust Fund dollars equal to 12.5% if provided from state, local and private
resources or 25% if provided from federal sources. Up to 33% of this match
may be provided through binding commitments to provide services for
residents. The match may be reduced or waived where a zoning variance or
other waiver of regulatory barriers was required to site Trust Fund-assisted

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