House Financial Services Committee Passes Lynch Amendment To Benefit Massachusetts Residents

Mar 30, 2007

            Washington, DC—The House Financial Services Committee has passed an amendment authored by Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) to require the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to require that affordable housing goals include 1- to 4- family rental housing properties, simply defined as "single family rental housing units” and found most commonly throughout the Boston area.  An example of this type of housing would include the "triple-deckers,” in which a homebuyer purchases three adjoining units, lives in one unit, and rents out the other two units.  Without the Lynch amendment, GSEs’ performance in serving this segment of the affordable rental housing market would not be both encouraged and measured.  The Lynch amendment has been included in the legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, originally introduced by Chairman Barney Frank, and passed the committee by a large bipartisan majority.  The bill now moves to a vote by the full House of Representatives.

Congressman Lynch said, "Today in Massachusetts and across this country, families face the combined threats of rising unemployment, falling wages and unaffordable housing. As someone who grew up in public housing, I've seen the benefits that reliable, long-term affordable housing initiatives can provide to struggling families. This amendment will enable Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to work with owners of multi-unit single family homes and triple-deckers to create more rental units for low-income families, at a time when waiting lists for affordable housing grow longer by the day.  I thank Chairman Barney Frank and the other members of the Committee for their hard work and tremendous support of this important amendment, and I am hopeful that the Congress will act soon to approve the full legislation and extend a critical lifeline to struggling families nationwide.”

 

The Lynch amendment has been included in H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007.  The bill will overhaul the regulatory oversight of the government sponsored enterprises (GSE) of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, and create a new, independent regulator with broad powers analogous to current banking regulators.  In addition, the bill creates an off-budget and non-taxpayer financed affordable housing fund, which will dedicate hundreds of millions of dollars for the construction, maintenance and preservation of affordable housing. The first year of this fund will be dedicated to the hurricane stricken areas of the Gulf Coast with billions of dollars over the next five years to be used for affordable housing nationwide.

Frank and Lynch will hold a congressional field hearing entitled "Household Incomes and Housing Costs: A New Squeeze for American Families,” to focus on the combined impact of the slow growth of household incomes and the pattern of housing costs increases on (a) the ability of American families to find safe and affordable housing, and (b) the ability of employers to recruit and retain employees. The Committee will explore how the increase in income inequality may have fueled increases in housing costs and priced large numbers of American families out of previously affordable communities.  The Committee is also seeking to examine the appropriateness and adequacy of current federal policy to support the production of affordable housing – for both the rental and homeowner markets.

"Far too many American families face a double whammy when they look for housing.  For most Americans, incomes have been stagnant for more than two decades while housing costs have soared,” said Congressman Frank.  "Growing income inequality has priced the majority out of previously affordable communities.”

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