A bill that would provide up to $1 billion a year to build more than 1 million affordable rental units during the next decade and provide down-payment and closing-cost assistance for first-time home buyers has backing from sponsors on both sides of the aisle.
The bill, which would create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, was introduced Thursday and is scheduled for a July 12 hearing before the House Financial Services Committee. The bill’s sponsors are committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., and Jim Ramstad, R-Minn.
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund would be used to build, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million units of affordable rental housing, and to provide down-payment and closing-cost assistance for first-time home buyers.
The bill would allocate $800 million to $1 billion a year to states and local communities, part of which could come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House last month passed legislation that would require Fannie and Freddie to pay about $500 million a year into an affordable-housing fund.
The new bill’s supporters said other funding would come out of anticipated savings generated by planned changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s operations, as spelled out in H.R. 1852, the Expanding Americans Home Ownership Act.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which supports the latest bill, there are 9 million extremely low-income families who rent, and only 6.2 million rental units that are affordable to them — a shortage of 2.8 million units.
The bill would require that all expenditures benefit low-income families, and that 75 percent of spending be targeted at extremely low-income families — those earning les than 30 percent of median income.
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund would earmark 60 percent of available money for larger cities and counties and the rest to states and Indian Tribes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development would develop a formula for allocations based on population, housing affordability, percentage of very and extremely low-income families, cost of construction and rehabilitation, and the extent of substandard and aging housing.