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Congress Approves Housing Trust Fund!

July 29, 2008

As is being widely reported in the press, Congress has sent to the President a massive housing package that includes legislation designed to prevent mortgage foreclosures, reform Federal Housing Administration and shore up the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The legislation will be signed shortly by President Bush.  The bill, the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 (HR 3221) passed the House on July 23 (272-152) and the Senate on July 26 (72-13). 

Included in the bill are a number of critical provisions to foster development of rental housing serving individuals with extremely low incomes (below 30% of area median income), chief among them a new Housing Trust Fund.  This is a major victory for low income housing advocates and the lowest income people in our country with the most serious needs – especially non-elderly adults with severe disabilities living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  

Non-elderly adults living with serious mental illness and other disabilities living on SSI are completely “priced out” of the rental housing market.  According to data from the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), on average, people living on SSI are at 18.2% of area median income and must pay (on average) more than 113% of their monthly income to rent a modest 1-bedroom apartment.  Additional information about the 2006 CCD-TAC “Priced Out” survey is available by clicking here .

The Housing Trust Fund’s most important features are:

  • It is a permanent program with a dedicated source of funding not subject to the annual congressional appropriations process.
  • At least 90% of the funds must be used for the production, preservation, rehabilitation, or operation of rental housing.
  • Up to 10% can be used for the following homeownership activities for first-time homebuyers: production, preservation, and rehabilitation; down payment assistance, closing cost assistance, and assistance for interest rate buy-downs.
  • Most importantly, at least 75% of the funds for rental housing must benefit extremely low income households and all funds must benefit very low income households.
  • Investment to achieve development of 1.5 million new units of rental housing affordable to very low-income and extremely low-income households.

Learn More

Click here find out why the Housing Trust Fund is important to NAMI.


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