The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced on February 14 that it would protect funding for the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) in 2018. The recently passed tax law caused a devaluation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (the enterprises’) deferred assets, forcing the enterprises to take a draw from the Treasury and putting funding for the HTF at risk. Under federal statute, the FHFA director has the broad authority to suspend contributions to the HTF if they would have a negative impact on the financial stability of the enterprises. In January, NLIHC sent a letter to FHFA making the case that the financial stability of the enterprises were not at issue under these unique circumstances and that contributions to the HTF should be continued. With FHFA’s decision to maintain the contributions, the enterprises are expected to provide nearly $269 million to the HTF in 2018.
FHFA’s decision to protect the HTF will allow states and communities to continue to use this critical resource in the coming year to help address the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for the lowest income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and people at risk of and experiencing homelessness. To date, nearly $400 million has been allocated to the states through the HTF to help them address the shortage of 7.4 million rental homes affordable and available to families with extremely low incomes. The week of February 12, the enterprises announced an expected $268.6 million allocation to the HTF in 2018 based on their 2017 book of business, $155 million from Fannie Mae and $113.6 million from Freddie Mac.
NLIHC applauds FHFA for protecting the HTF and will continue to engage stakeholders, advocates, and Congress to expand this vital program to help it reach more people in need of affordable homes. You can support this effort by signing onto the national letter – already signed by nearly 1,300 organizations – urging Congress to increase funding to the HTF to at least $3.5 billion annually through housing finance reform legislation.