U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent today applauded House passage of H.R. 2895, the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007, of which he is an original cosponsor. This national fund will help produce, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million units of housing over the next 10 years for low income individuals and families.
HR 2895 targets some of the neediest populations in the United States. Families earning below 80 percent of state or local median income would be eligible for assistance. Furthermore, at least 75 percent of the program’s resources must target extremely low income families and individuals – renters with 30 percent of the average median income.
“The creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund will help fill the housing gap for countless low income families and individuals are experiencing across the country,” Congressman Dent said. “This bill provides hope and opportunity for the families and children in our country who are struggling to stay afloat.”
Funds would be distributed to states and local jurisdictions for the construction of rental housing, low-interest or deferred-payment loans, as well as closing cost assistance for first time home buyers.
The bill will allocate between $800 million and $1 billion annually to assist states and local communities in providing low-income families with access to affordable rental units and first-time ownership opportunities. The Trust Fund will allocate 60 percent of the resources to local communities housing initiatives, with the remaining 40 percent to be distributed to states and Indian Tribes.
Congress has already passed bills this year to establish the funding mechanisms for this program. In September, the Congressman supported the Expanding American Homeownership Act (HR 1852). This legislation would direct surplus funds from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to the Trust Fund. In addition, Congressman Dent supported the passage of HR 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act. Under this legislation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be required to allocate 0.012 percent of its average total mortgage portfolio each year, generating approximately $300 million annually from each entity for the Fund. HR 2895 also requires that for every $2 of Trust Fund money, there is a required $1 match of state, local and private resources.
Local institutions that encouraged Congressman Dent to support this legislation included: the Alliance for Building Communities; Bethlehem Housing Authority; Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley; the Housing Association and Development Corp.; and Lehigh and Northampton counties.