WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Barack
Obama proposed spending $1 billion next year for the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development to fund a federal affordable housing trust
fund established by Congress six years ago, according to the 2015 White
The fund was originally mandated to be capitalized by
government-run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If given budget
authority, it would be the first contribution to the National
Housing Trust Fund that was set up in 2008.
Over time, the White House predicted the money would provide for
16,000 affordable units using a mix of funding sources, including
other public funds, tax credits and private debt.
The housing trust fund was established to provide "grants to states
to increase and preserve the supply of affordable rental housing and
homeownership opportunities for extremely low- and very low-income
families," the budget proposal said.
Under the legislation that established the affordable housing fund,
Fannie and Freddie were meant to be the source of capital. But the
previous head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Edward DeMarco,
kept them from paying into the fund after they were bailed out by
taxpayers at the height of the financial crisis.
Many housing advocates argue that the conditions that prompted the
regulatory agency to suspend payments in 2008 no longer exist.
A new regulator, Melvin Watt, took charge of the agency in January,
but he has yet to say whether the companies should move to
capitalize the fund after a group of more than 30 Democrats in the
U.S. Senate called on him earlier this year to do so.