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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Housing Action Illinois: 2014 United for Homes Campaign Update for Illinois Endorsers

as shared by our friends at Housing Action Illinois ...

Housing Action Illinois

United for Homes Campaign Update for Illinois Endorsers

As we reach the end of the first month of 2014, Housing Action Illinois is reaching out to people affiliated with endorsing organizaitons to provide an update on our efforts to support the United for Homes Campaign to fund the National Housing Trust Fund through reform of the mortgage interest deduction, as well our related efforts to secure funding for the Trust Fund from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Why This is Important

Nationally, for every 100 extremely low income renters, there are only 30 affordable and available rental homes. In Illinois, there are only 28 such units, meaning that many of these households are paying more than half of their income just to keep a roof over their head of their families.
With the National Housing Trust Fund, we know we can eliminate this gap in the availability of affordable homes. Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund will expand, preserve, rehabilitate and maintain the supply of rental housing affordable to America’s poorest families.

The United for Homes campaign proposes to fund the National Housing Trust Fund through modifications to the current mortgage interest deduction. The changes are simple: reduce the size of a mortgage eligible for a tax break to $500,000, and convert the deduction to a 15% non-refundable tax credit.

These changes would produce a fairer tax policy, and would raise almost $200 billion in revenue over ten years that could be used to end homelessness and address our most important housing problems. For Illinois, this could more than double the amount of federal funding currently available for the development of affordable rental housing each year

2013 Second Half Accomplishments

Endorsements: During the last six months of the year, we just about doubled the number of endorsing organizations in Illinois, ending the year with 117 endorsers with at least one endorser in in each of Illinois’ 18 House districts. Across the country 1,461 organizations have endorsed the campaign.  (See the list of endorsers at http://nlihc.org/unitedforhomes/endorsers.)

Outreach to Senators Durbin and Kirk:  We had several meetings with staff for both Illinois Senators, Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, during trips to Washington DC to educate them about the campaign.  Our goal is to gain their support for including the United for Homes proposal as part of any larger tax reform package that the Senate might consider in the future.

Outreach in Key House Districts:  We held 7 "roundtable discussions" in key House legislative districts, attended by more than 50 people, to strengthen existing endorsers and recruit new endorsers.   We also held approximately 20 one-on-one relationship building meetings where we included discussions about the United for Homes Campaign.  The focus of our work in House districts is to get legislators to endorse H.R. 1213,  the Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2013, which provides funding for the Trust Fund and other housing programs through the savings generated by mortgage interest deduction reform.
Support from Local Governments:  On December 16th, the Park Forest Village Board formally adopted its 2014 Legislative Agenda, which includes support for H.R. 1213.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Funding: 
In July, when the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed a lawsuit against then Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Ed DeMarco for not making legally mandated payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the National Housing Trust Fund we generated press coverage by Chicago Muckrakers (available at http://bit.ly/1bsC1vC).

This year has started well, as 33 Senators, including Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, sent a letter to new FHFA Director Mel Watt on January 23 asking  him to end the suspension of contributions to the Trust Fund, stating that funding for affordable rental housing is needed now and asserting that “the time is long overdue to lift the current suspension.”

The Year Ahead

In 2014, in addition to ongoing work on the efforts outlined above, the focus of our work will be on working with our endorsing organizations to do in-district small groups meetings with key federal legislators and getting local elected officials and governments to endorse the campaign.

We encourage groups that have endorsed the campaign to get more involved through work in your local community and/or helping us plan campaign strategy through participating on a statewide Steering Committee.

If you want more information about the campaign and/or want to discuss how you can support these efforts, please reply to this email or visit the campaign website at http://unitedforhomes.org.

Finally, thanks for endorsing the campaign!  Your support is important to the effort.

Housing Action Illinois 
11 E. Adams #1601
Chicago, IL 60603

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