He proposed that the government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be wound down, and commended the bipartisan effort led by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) to do the same.
He also called for policy changes that would make it easier for homeowners to refinance. The details of the plan are included in a 12-page fact-sheet that was circulated shortly before the speech.
The President’s speech largely focused on helping middle class families become or remain homeowners, and only briefly mentioned the housing needs of renters, low income Americans, and people who are homeless. In a statement responding to the President’s speech, NLIHC’s President and CEO Sheila Crowley said,
“While the President mentioned the need for more investment in affordable rental housing, missing from the speech was any reference to the 7.1 million unit shortage of rental housing that the lowest income families can afford, and the struggle that low wage workers and people on fixed incomes have just to come up with the rent each month. A speech that could have spoken to all Americans would have called for funding for the only viable solution to the affordable rental housing shortage – the National Housing Trust Fund.”
According to our partner, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the Corker-Warner bill includes funding for the National Housing Trust Fund, although NLIHC thinks that the funding level in the bill as written is inadequate (see Memo, 6/28).
In addition to the speech, the President participated in a public question and answer session facilitated by Spencer Rascoff, CEO of the company Zillow, which aired live online on August 7.
NLIHC Vice President for Policy and Research Linda Couch submitted a recorded question for the President, asking,
“In every one of your budgets, you have asked for funding for the National Housing Trust Fund. How can the National Housing Trust Fund be a viable tool, a real tool, to ending homelessness in this country?”