NY Times Endorses Funding by GSE’s

Fund the NHTF Now!Now that Congressman Mel Watt has been approved as the of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, we have written frequently about the need to begin to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The New York Times in an editorial – A Step Toward Affordable Housing – published on Christmas Day endorsed this approach.

One thing he can do right away is to require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federally backed mortgage companies that the agency oversees, to pay into the National Housing Trust Fund, which was created by Congress in 2008 but was never financed because the two companies were brought low by the mortgage crisis.

The crisis in affordable housing was underscored in an alarming study released this month by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. The study found that, from 2000 to 2012, renters were caught in a relentless squeeze, with falling wages on one side and rising rents on the other. Median gross rents went up by 6 percent, while the median renter’s income declined by 13 percent.

Nearly half of all renters earn less than $30,000 a year. According to the report, about half of them now pay more than a third of their incomes on rent — up 12 percentage points from a decade ago. A quarter of renters pay more than 50 percent of their incomes in rent, which places them at clear risk of homelessness.

Mr. Watt needs to encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to stimulate affordable housing production by purchasing and guaranteeing more multifamily mortgages. He must find ways to make home loans more affordable to moderate-income borrowers. And he should direct Fannie and Freddie, which have recovered from the mortgage crisis, to begin paying into the trust fund.

Click here to read the full editorial.

Click here to learn more about the United for Homes campaign.

Click here to read more about the report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.

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