State HFAs Urge Congress To Protect and Support Vital Federal Housing Programs, Launch Faces of Home Campaig

State HFAs Urge Congress To Protect and Support Vital Federal Housing Programs, Launch Faces of Home Campaig

WASHINGTON, DC – March 7, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Life -changing stories of working families benefiting from a range of federal housing programs will be at the forefront of this week’s annual Legislative Conference of the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA).

The Faces of Home campaign illustrates the “life-changing impact HFA programs have across the spectrum of housing need, from making first-time homeownership possible for working families, to developing affordable rental housing in partnership with the private sector, to providing safety net rental assistance for the most vulnerable among us,” said Barbara Thompson, executive director of NCSHA.

“These success stories, along with the hard facts on the country’s scarce supply of affordable housing, are what HFAs will carry with them as they petition Congress this week to support and protect the vital federal housing programs HFAs administer.”

Consider the situation of 71-year-old Jennie, who lost her home to foreclosure after her husband of 38 years passed away and she couldn’t afford the payments on her own. “I didn’t want to leave, but I didn’t have a choice,” she said. “I didn’t know what would happen to me. I was afraid I would end up homeless.” But Jennie was one of the lucky ones. Her children helped her find an affordable apartment at Bethel Ridge Estates, a development for seniors that was financed with Low Income Housing Tax Credits issued by the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

In the desert Southwest, Marjorie Delgarito and her family were living in a small trailer with no running water or electricity on the Navajo Nation when she heard about a new apartment complex being built nearby. “We [used to have] five five-gallon jugs of water we hauled into the house for washing and bathing,” Marjorie said. “We gathered and chopped wood for heat. The kids had to hurry and finish their homework outside before dark.” The family now lives in the Chaco River Apartments, one of the first rental housing developments ever to be built on the Navajo Nation. The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority financed the development in part with HOME funds. “The kids…are all on the honor roll now,” Marjorie said. “We are very happy.”

In Florida, Tamela Nelloms, a working mother of three who grew up in public housing as one of nine siblings, never thought her homeownership dreams would come true. She didn’t know anyone who had ever bought a home and had no idea how the process worked. Now, thanks to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and its federal housing bond-supported low-cost mortgage program, Tamela is a proud first-time homebuyer with a monthly payment well within her economic means. “I wanted my kids to have what I didn’t,” Tamela said. “My boys will grow up knowing that anything in life is possible. This home has changed all of our lives.” (These and other stories of transformation are available on NCSHA’s official Faces of Home website at www.ncsha.org/faces-of-home.)

Thompson stressed that future funding levels and tax incentives for a wide range of housing programs could all be in jeopardy as Congress debates cuts in the current federal budget and considers tax reform, the future of the housing finance system, and long-term deficit reduction strategies.

“Housing Bonds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME, and Section 8 are time-tested programs that effectively provide affordable housing around the country,” said Thompson. “HFAs have successfully administered these programs for decades, and nothing demonstrates the importance of that work like the powerful stories of transformation and hope chronicled in the Faces of Home campaign.”

The Faces of Home web exhibit features stories of people from every state who have received housing help from their HFA. Stories are searchable by state or by program, and offer a glimpse into the larger story of the integral role HFAs play in affordable housing, and why that role matters so very much—to the people whose lives are changed, the communities they live in, and to the economy.

HFAs are state-chartered housing agencies that operate in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Though they vary widely in their characteristics, including their relationship to state government, HFAs have in common their public purpose mission to provide affordable housing to the people of their states who need it.

NCSHA is a national, nonprofit organization created by state HFAs to assist them in increasing housing opportunities for lower income and underserved people through the financing, development, and preservation of affordable housing.

About 200 HFA leaders are expected to meet with members of Congress during NCSHA’s three-day Legislative Conference.

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