National issues

National Housing Trust Fund becomes subject of political distortions

Housing for the poor has been caught up in the partisan distortions of the political mudslinging season.  This speaks poorly about those who spread these distortions.

Let me me very clear.  My organization does not endorse any political candidates.  We exist to promote decent housing for low income Texans.  Our work is more difficult when politicians and political partisans distort civil rights and housing initiatives as part of their political campaign.  When this happens we have to speak up and tell the truth about housing programs.

I have already written about the distortions that have been flying around regarding the Community Reinvestment Act.  I also wrote about false statements of the role that the GSE affordable housing goals played in the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Now the National Housing Trust Fund has become the subject of distortions.

Today House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a false statement about the National Housing Trust Fund, despite receiving correct information from the National Housing Trust Fund campaign on October 1, 2008.

Today, Mr. Boehner released an alert containing this statement:

Last summer, Democrats forced a giant housing bill loaded up with a taxpayer-funded slush fund for ACORN through Congress. More recently, Democrats attempted to divert billions from the economic rescue proposal to ACORN in the form of a “housing trust fund.” In reality, it was little more than a massive check to the liberal group, care of American taxpayers.”

Here is what the National Low Income Housing Coalition says…

Mr. Boehner knows better. He knows that the purpose of the National Housing Trust Fund is to build homes for the poorest people in the United States, including disabled and homeless people who are homeless.

Funds from the National Housing Trust Fund will be distributed by HUD to states, which will make grants to organizations in their states that will build homes for poor people, organizations such as local branches and affiliates of Catholic Charities USA, Volunteers of America, Lutheran Services in America, Mercy Housing, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Church Residences, and other local non-profit and public housing organizations.

The statute that created the National Housing Trust Fund specifically forbids the use of any funds for “political activities, lobbying, counseling, traveling and administrative expenses, or endorsements of a particular candidate or party.”

ACORN is ineligible to apply for or receive any dollars from the National Housing Trust Fund.

More information about the National Housing Trust Fund is available at: www.nhtf.org.

I started my commitment to housing justice for people and communities with low incomes in 1975 in Austin's Clarksville community. These years of working side-by-side with dedicated community leaders to find solutions to housing and community development challenges have taught me some things and I’m learning new things every day.

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