February 6, 2012

NHC to host Annual Budget Forum Feb. 24

The President's FY 2013 Budget Proposal is expected to be released the week of Feb.13. What will it mean for housing? What does the new data tell us about housing affordability during the housing crisis?

To answer those questions and more, NHC will host our annual budget forum on Feb. 24 in the Congressional Auditorium of the Capitol Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to noon EST. Esteemed speakers include Dennis Shea, Principal of Shea Public Strategies LLC and Former Asst. Sec. for PD&R at HUD; Douglas Rice, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Michael Bodaken, National Housing Trust; Jeffrey Lubell, Center for Housing Policy; and Ethan Handelman, NHC.

Register today to join the conversation on the budget proposal and the Center for Housing Policy's release of Housing Landscape 2012.

Obama's housing plan, piece by piece

President Obama's announcement of his housing plan was welcome, but it includes more pieces than brief news coverage necessarily notices. Secretary Donovan provided much helpful detail in his remarks, and the fact sheet is a good reference. If you're looking for a place to start, go to NHC's Open House blog for a quick guide to the parts of the plan and what they might mean for communities and households across the country.

You can also read NHC's reaction to the housing plan, which was quoted by CBS News.

Mortgage abuse settlement drawing near

A settlement holding banks accountable for mortgage abuses is imminent (although, to be fair, we have heard such announcements before.) The settlement between five major mortgage servicers and many of the state attorneys-general would resolve claims of robo-signing and provide billions in long-awaited funds to help wronged and struggling homeowners. Marking a last minute change, California has rejoined negotiations after dropping out four months ago. Read more at the New York Times and the Washington Post.

House votes to abolish guaranteed funding for transit, could threaten housing funds 

The U.S. House Ways & Means Committee approved a bill Feb. 3 terminating the guaranteed trust fund revenue for mass transit, transferring the funds to the highway program. This dedicated funding stream established during the Reagan Administration comes from an excise tax on gasoline. Under this new provision, the burden for funding mass transit would fall entirely on the annual appropriations process, meaning lower funding and much more uncertainty for public transit. The bill is expected to take the Senate floor this week. Join NHC at its Annual Budget Forum Feb. 24 to hear more about the connections between transportation and housing funding.  Read more on NHC's Open House blog.


N.Y. sues MERS

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS) and three banks for fraudulent foreclosure actions.  Massachusetts filed a similar suit previously.  More concerns have been raised about the MERS system for recording and transferring mortgage liens in a story by the New York Times' Gretchen Morgenson, as well as other concerns about Fannie Mae's oversight of its foreclosure activities.


Fairfax County takes stand for affordable housing

NHC member Fairfax County was highlighted in the Washington Post on Feb. 4 for its efforts in providing affordable housing to the neediest even after HUD cut funding by 23.4 percent. "As part of the county's initiatives to concentrate scarce resources on the neediest, these families--three quarters of whom earn less than 30 percent of the area's median income of $107,500 a year--would receive up to two years of subsidized housing aid through the Bridging Affordability program," according to the Post.  This program is part of the county's Housing Blueprint, an ambitious initiative to eradicate the county of homelessness in 10 years and meeting affordable housing demands for those in greatest need.


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