Industry News

House OKs $1 billion-a-year housing fund

Fannie, Freddie, FHA would provide funding

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The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that would siphon off up to $1 billion a year from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to build affordable rental housing and provide down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers. Supporters of HR 2895, the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007, say it would be the largest expansion in federal housing programs in decades -- providing $800 million to $1 billion a year to build, rehabilitate or preserve 1.5 million units of rental housing over the next decade. "It has been 17 years since the federal government last enacted a major affordable-housing production program," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., in a statement. Waters said HR 2895 would "tackle the full range of housing crises, providing relief to overburdened renters and homeowners while targeting funds where the need is greatest." House lawmakers approved the bill in a 264 to 148 vote, but it relies on other...