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National Housing Conference Statement on State of the Union Address

The Right Housing Policies Can Create Opportunity in America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—January 29, 2014                               

Contact:
Amy Clark
202.466.2121 (ext. 226)
aclark@nhc.org 

In the State of the Union address, President Obama offered a domestic agenda focused on expanding opportunity for all. The National Housing Conference (NHC) believes that safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America is an essential part of expanding opportunity.

As a nonpartisan organization, NHC calls on policymakers to focus on the outcomes that matter for American families rather than fleeting partisan point-scoring. “Housing is a pocketbook issue, plain and simple,” said NHC President and CEO Chris Estes. “We expect to see the President and Congress in 2014 refocusing on policy changes that can make stable housing more affordable and more accessible to all in America.”

Making our housing finance system sustainable for the long term and focused on the shelter needs of all in America is essential for moving housing and the economy forward. “We are pleased to see the President reiterate in the post-State of the Union release his commitment to reforming the system of housing finance,” said Ethan Handelman, NHC’s Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. “His openness to building on the bipartisan work of the Senate Banking Committee shows a commitment to the housing needs of Americans.”

Although the President cited a rebounding housing market as a positive result of the collective effort of Americans, much more is needed to make housing the engine of opportunity it has historically been. Overall national statistics obscure the communities struggling to rebuild after waves of foreclosures, the families struggling with burdensome housing costs, and the many Americans trying to emerge from homelessness.

President Obama said in his address that, “The best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.” Good housing policy is an essential part of fulfilling that opportunity. Creating and preserving affordable housing ensures workers can afford to live close to those good jobs. Ensuring reliable access to affordable home mortgages is an essential rung on the ladder of building household wealth. By focusing on the combined cost of housing and transportation, federal agencies can help communities create new houses and apartments close to transit and preserve affordable homes that are already well-located. Expanding long-standing and effective federal housing programs provides the essential building blocks communities use to house America’s workforce and care for the most vulnerable among us, some of them veterans of the armed forces. And addressing the mortgage debt burdening many families can allow workers to relocate, pay for education, and ensure stable homes for today’s school children to begin building the economy of the future.

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About the National Housing Conference

The National Housing Conference (NHC) represents a diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, realtors, equity investors, and more, all of whom share a commitment to a balanced national housing policy. Since 1931, NHC has been dedicated to ensuring safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. We are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together our broad-based membership to advocate on housing issues.