Why the National Housing Trust Fund? Why Now?

Today, we’re revisiting a post from earlier this year that tells you what the National Housing Trust Fund can do, and shows you how we’ve worked to defend that vital program.

Tomorrow, NLIHC President & CEO Sheila Crowley will testify on the National Housing Trust Fund before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises of the House Financial Services Committee. We think there’s no better time to recap just what the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) is all about.

As you’ll learn from our FAQ on the NHTF, the National Housing Trust Fund was put into law in 2008 with the purpose of providing revenue to build, preserve, and rehabilitate housing for people with the lowest incomes.

If you are at all familiar with the work of the NLIHC, then you probably already know that there is an absolute shortage of affordable rental housing for people with the lowest incomes in the United States. It’s one of the numbers- besides the Housing Wage– that we talk about the most. Because in America today, there are about 10 million extremely low income people, but there only 3.4 million rental homes affordable and available to them. This is the gap the National Housing Trust Fund will close.

While the NHTF has been  made law, a source of revenue has not yet been dedicated to it. This means that the NHTF has not been able to do its work. No new homes built, no apartments rehabilitated, no new construction jobs in communities across the U.S. There are proposals on the table to fund the NHTF, like this proposal we told you about a few weeks ago.

The lack of funding is a challenge, but the National Housing Trust Fund faces an even bigger threat. Earlier this month, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) introduced a bill that would, among other things, abolish the NHTF. In a statement on the bill, Representative Royce conflates low income housing advocates with the “crony capitalists” who he says support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and calls the NHTF a “slush fund.”

At 2 pm EDT tomorrow, Ms. Crowley will be on Capitol Hill to refute this claim, and show why the NHTF is so desperately needed. Show her your support if you live or work in the congressional district of a member of this subcommittee by contacting your Member of Congress and asking him or her not to abolish the NHTF.

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