Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I like about the attacks on housing finance reform

by Ethan Handelman, National Housing Conference 

When you suddenly see vigorous but contrived opposition to a policy proposal, it means at least some opponents are afraid it might actually happen. That’s why I take heart from the spate of attack ads and strange new coalitions popping up against the Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform bill. Housing stakeholders need to stay engaged, both to improve the bill and to move the bipartisan effort forward. If the other side is shouting, we’re doing something right.

Recently, we’ve seen baseless attack ads from the 60 Plus Association, which NHC and many allies decried in a statement. We’ve seen new campaigns with Orwellian names like “United for American Homeownership” and “Investors Unite” arise to advocate against reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In coming weeks, you’ll see ads from housing stakeholders in Capitol Hill publications supporting housing finance reform. But beyond Johnson-Crapo, we haven’t seen any other detailed proposals for housing finance reform with bipartisan appeal.

We know that the status quo is unsustainable. Our housing finance system is still relying on temporary measures put in place during the financial crisis. Access to homeownership is still far too restricted, and rental housing is under pressure from high demand. That’s why NHC and many others have come together to support a reformed housing finance system, one that puts shelter for Americans at its core. We urge you to join us in this effort by reaching out to me at ehandelman@nhc.org.

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