A lawsuit seeking funding for the National Housing Trust Fund has been filed against Edward DeMarco, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
Advocates say DeMarco has failed to uphold statutory requirements for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to contribute a portion of 0.042 percent of their new business to the trust fund.
“We need affordable housing. That’s the reason we are filing the lawsuit today,” said Angela Samuels, a health-care worker in Miami who lost her home.
She is one of four individual plaintiffs joining with the Right to the City Alliance and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) to file suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The National Housing Trust Fund was established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. It was supposed to be supported with contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but five years later it has yet to receive any funding. When the financial crisis hit, the contributions were suspended.
Now that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are making money, the agencies should meet their requirements to the long-awaited housing trust fund, said Sheila Crowley, president and CEO of NLIHC.
Advocates are calling on DeMarco, whose agency regulates Fannie and Freddie, to start funding the program.
They calculate that $382 million is owed to the trust fund for 2012.
Once funded, the trust fund will provide resources to build and rehabilitate affordable rental homes.
At the same time, NLIHC and others are pursuing other avenues of funding, including a bill that seeks to replace the mortgage interest deduction with a credit to provide resources for affordable housing.