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Affordable Housing Gets Multiple Hearings on Capitol Hill

Affordable Housing

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing held a hearing on Oct. 21 on the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015,” which provides common-sense reforms to federal affordable housing programs. The hearing provided a rare glimpse of bipartisanship, with both Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) speaking in favor of the bill. The full House Financial Services Committee also held a hearing on Oct. 22 that examined whether legislative changes are needed to help ensure affordability and promote self-reliance and upward economic mobility.

NAA/NMHC’s concerns regarding inefficient government programs, local obstacles to development and income stagnation were mirrored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in his statement. “There can be no real progress in the cause of affordable housing without a recognition that government policies are often the impediment,” Hensarling acknowledged.
In addition, Republican and Democratic lawmakers at both hearings highlighted the need for the United States to develop a more balanced housing policy where public private partnerships could be utilized to preserve, rehabilitate and develop rental housing.

Hearings and Apartment Rental Housing In-Depth:

  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing

NAA/NMHC joined with a real estate coalition in offering our support for the reforms to federal affordable housing policy for the Oct. 21 hearing. In particular, we are pleased that the legislation permits immediate tenant occupancy reducing the length of time a unit is vacant.

We also emphasized our support for the bill’s streamlining of resident eligibility certifications and the fact that it allows changes to the project-based program. That includes extending the contract term for project-based vouchers from 15 to 20 years. 

  • Full House Financial Services Committee

For the Oct. 22 hearing, NAA/NMHC outlined key solutions to the nation’s affordable housing challenges. In a letter submitted for the record, we urged lawmakers to pass tax extenders legislation that would renew several key provisions to support affordable housing. We also reiterated the need for access to capital in all markets at all times, common sense reforms to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and continued funding of the FHA multifamily programs. 

More importantly, we underscored that the demand for affordable housing cannot be met by government programs alone, emphasizing that local, state and federal collaborations, and partnerships between the public and private sectors, are critical in addressing this issue.

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program