Economists are pointing to an 11% surge in new home sales in the US this past June, boosted by tax credits, as an indicator that the housing market may have bottomed out and is starting to revive. But the National Housing Trust Fund, enacted a year ago, remains unfunded. Signed into law by then President George W. Bush, the federal program was slated to assist low-income families by constructing, rehabilitating and preserving affordable homes. But in a year, no money has actually been designated to the Fund. Revenues were originally intended to come from the mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but when the two became financially unstable, the plan was halted. Earlier this month, Congressman Barney Frank proposed legislation that would address the lack of funding for the federal housing program. The TARP for Main Street Act, introduced by Frank, contains a provision that would allocate one billion dollars to the National Housing Trust Fund from dividends received by the Treasury Department since the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program last fall. The Obama Administration has publicly supported the low-income housing assistance but has not been a proponent of using TARP money to fund it.
GUEST: Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition
For more information, visit www.nlihc.org.