Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Many voices together for housing finance reform

What we're building
by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference

America is more than ready for an improved housing finance system, and 2014 looks like the year for Congress to get the critical work done. Even if election-year politics get in the way of passing a bill, there’s enough bipartisan momentum that committees will do much detailed drafting that will flow into future bills. That means the affordable housing community should make our voices heard on the need for the federal government to support an effective secondary mortgage market that provides for affordable housing.

At the end of December, NHC’s Board of Governors formally adopted principles for housing finance reform accompanied by an explanation of the need for Congressional action. We’re gathering formal endorsements of these documents as we build a broad and deep coalition, one that represents for-profits and nonprofits; public sector and private sector; urban, suburban and rural interests; homeowners and renters.

As you read the two documents (here and here), think of them as representing a consensus position, not a blueprint. Many members of this coalition will offer specific plans for housing finance reform, and some may disagree on specifics. But core principles like the need for an explicit, priced, and carefully structured federal guarantee and the importance of affordable housing unite us. Our unity is our strength, which makes this coalition effort so important.

I hope you can join us. To learn more or offer your endorsement, contact me at ehandelman@nhc.org. NHC’s Policy Committee and Public Strategies Committee are jointly crafting an outreach strategy, so expect to hear more.

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