Wednesday, Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10) introduced H.R. 5599, the Fulfilling the Promise of the Housing Trust Fund Act, in the U.S. House. Reps. Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), chair of the Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee; Earl Blumenauer (OR-03); and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) joined as original cosponsors of the bill.
H.R. 5599 would increase the construction of affordable housing by significantly expanding the National Housing Trust Fund. The Housing Trust Fund was established during the financial crisis in 2008 to provide money to state housing authorities for the construction of affordable housing. It was first funded in 2016, and over the first three years, merely $660 million was allocated to states for the construction of affordable housing. This is an inadequate amount to address the nation’s affordable housing shortage. In contrast, this legislation would fund the Housing Trust Fund at billions of dollars a year.
In order to meet the challenge of the multi-million-home shortage of affordable housing, H.R. 5599 dramatically increases Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund. It does this by taking the 10-basis point – or 0.1% – guarantee fee currently levied by Fannie and Freddie, and redirecting it to the National Housing Trust Fund. In 2011, Fannie and Freddie were required to increase their guarantee fees for ten years in order to create extra profits that would go to reduce the federal deficit. This bill preserves the guarantee fee increase but directs the proceeds to the Housing Trust Fund, which would increase funding by billions every year.
“Those hardest hit in our national housing shortage are those who are struggling to make ends meet, who can barely pay rent, or who cannot afford a home at all,” said Heck. “The Housing Trust Fund should be expanded to do more to help families who cannot afford a place to live. That’s why investing these guarantee fees back into the construction of affordable housing makes economic and moral sense.”
“I am pleased to join Congressman Heck as an original cosponsor of his bill to expand the Housing Trust Fund,” said Clay. “Our legislation will advance the critical priorities of combating homelessness and growing Affordable Housing across the nation.”
“Communities of all sizes are facing affordable housing and homelessness crises perpetrated by underinvestment,” said Blumenauer. “Since 2016, the Housing Trust Fund has proven its value in producing and preserving affordable housing. I’m pleased to be joining Congressman Heck in introducing this legislation to build off of the success of the Housing Trust Fund.”
“This bill will better equip the Housing Trust Fund with the resources it needs to help hardworking families and increase the supply of affordable housing for low-income households,” said Perlmutter. “Thank you to Congressman Heck for his leadership on this issue and his work to help address our country’s affordable housing needs.”
“Our nation is in the midst of an affordable rental housing crisis that is most severely impacting America’s lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “Given the growing crisis and its impact on those with the greatest needs, leaders in Congress must seize every opportunity to expand the national Housing Trust Fund and other key solutions to ending homelessness and housing poverty once and for all. I applaud Rep. Heck for his leadership in introducing legislation that will take an important step forward in addressing this tragic, yet solvable, crisis.”
Congressman Heck co-chairs the New Democrat Coalition’s Housing Task Force, which released the report Missing Millions of Homes in the summer of 2018. Since then, Rep. Heck has been working on legislation to alleviate the national housing crisis and increase affordability. Last year he introduced the YIMBY Act (H.R. 4351), the Tribal Access to Homeless Assistance Act (H.R. 4029), and a reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (H.R. 5319). He also cosponsored the Build More Housing Near Transit Act (H.R. 4307) and the Veteran HOUSE Act (H.R. 2398), both introduced by Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52).