NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND
In the summer of 2013, the Community Justice Project filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Edward DeMarco for failing to uphold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s statutory obligations to make contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund. $382 million in federal funding that should have been
CJP is representing the Right to the City Alliance, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and several individuals plaintiffs. On July 9, 2013, plaintiffs and community leaders from across the country came out to demand action:
- In Miami, CJP Attorneys joined plaintiffs Angela Samuels and Rosana Torres, of Miami Workers Center to announce lawsuit.
- In New York, dozens of members of Picture the Homeless, Homeless people, low-income immigrant tenants, public housing residents, and allies ralled behind plaintiff Danielle Stelluto.
- In San Francisco Causa Justa :: Just Cause along with plaintiff Kim Shanklin and others who have been affected and displaced held a press conference. A large group then left notes at three sites where tenants have been impacted and displaced and hosted a street theater at each stop.
While the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in late 2014, Frannie and Freddie Mac agreed to "start making payments that could total hundreds of millions of dollars annually into a fund for affordable housing" in December 2014. Read more about the victory here and here.
In 2008, Congress passed a provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) to address the dire shortage of affordable rental homes for very low-income families. The provision required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund to support the construction of additional housing units affordable to the most needy. Shortly after the passage of the Act, the economic crisis impacted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and they were placed in a conservatorship administered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA, relying on another provision of HERA, temporarily suspended the Housing Trust Fund payments. However, since at least the end of 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have declared record profits and more than returned any funds provided by the federal government. Nevertheless the Federal Finance Housing Agency has refused to reconsider their decision and contribute to the Housing Trust Fund. Public records have shown they have withheld well over $382 million from low-income families, youth and seniors in need. Implementing the Housing Trust Fund would be the largest new investment in low-income affordable housing in over 30 years. This is a first step in turning the tide from disinvestment to investment in affordable rental housing for low income families in our cities.