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Housing Trust Fund Deserves Government Action

The National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) was created in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) to address the severe shortage of rental homes that are affordable for the lowest-income families. It remains unfunded even as increasing numbers of families and individuals are becoming homeless. During the past twenty years, housing stock for those in the extremely low-income bind has been woefully inadequate. President Obama proposed funding for the NHTF in his FY10 and FY11 budget requests.

 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition, which we support, recently sent a letter to Congress requesting that $1.065 billion be provided immediately to the NHTF: $1 billion to capitalize the NHTF and $65 million for project-based vouchers to couple with NHTF capital grants. NETWORK, along with more than 2,000 other organizations, signed the letter and strongly supports its message.

 

The NHTF, once it is funded, will give communities the support they need to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes for people with very low incomes. The Housing Trust Fund’s most important features, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, are:

 

·        It is a permanent program, and will have dedicated source of funding not subject to the annual appropriations process.

 

·        At least 90% of the funds must be used for the production, preservation, rehabilitation, or operation of rental housing. Up to 10% can be used for the following homeownership activities for first-time homebuyers: production, preservation, and rehabilitation; down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, and assistance for interest rate buy-downs.

 

·        At least 75% of the funds for rental housing must benefit extremely low income households and all funds must benefit very low income households.

 

Action to convince Congress of the necessity of funding the NHTF remains a high priority for NETWORK. Help convince your legislators that the NHTF will support jobs in your state while it provides a place to call home for those who find themselves on the streets, in shelters, or jammed in with relatives and friends.