In the summer of 2013, Right to the City and the National Low Income Housing Coalition filed a national lawsuit against Acting Director Ed DeMarco of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for violating the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). HERA requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to contribute a portion of their revenue to the National Housing Trust Fund, a fund created explicitly to support low-income affordable rental housing. Despite the banks’ reporting $28 Billion in record setting profits in 2012, FHFA, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has failed to contribute into the National Housing Trust Fund and shirked their responsibility to millions of families in need of affordable and fair housing.
When we filed this past summer, the news was reported in over 50 publications including exclusives with the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. Reuters, the Washington Post and the New York Times also covered the effort of our national alliances to fight for federal funding for affordable housing. Since then, our petition to pressure DeMarco to support the National Housing Trust Fund has garnered close to 700 signatures. However, we know this is not enough, We need atleast 5,000 signatures to effectively pressure DeMarco.
Our lawsuit demands that FHFA and Ed DeMarco stop breaking the law and pay the well over $382 Million that they owe to the National Housing Trust Fund which would secure the largest new investment in low-income affordable housing in more than 30 years. In addition to accountability, we are calling for a new kind of leadership at FHFA! If Obama’s nominee Mel Watt is confirmed as a permanent replacement for Ed DeMarco, we will expect nothing less than his firm commitment to fund quality affordable housing and ensure compliance.
Take Action and sign the petition to ensure funding for affordable housing nationally!
We have also been building out a website documenting the stories of people across the country waiting for affordable housing. We will be opening this site, affectionally called The Can’t Wait List, for public view in early November. Meanwhile, our member groups are working diligently locally to host community events where residents in crisis can share their personal stories and their great need for affordable, safe, beautiful and loving homes. We hope to share these stories with DeMarco as well.
Danielle Stelluto, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, and her two children are among the millions in need of an affordable, secure home. “You think it’s hard raising a toddler”, says Danielle, a home care worker who makes $10 an hour and lives in a NYC shelter, “try doing it without a home.”
With 11 million Americans paying more than half of their income to housing and more than 3 million homeless, half of these being children, we cannot afford to wait another day for quality, safe homes in which to love and raise our families.
Lawsuit support actions also took place in three cities when the lawsuit was released on July 9th. The actions were led by our Right to the City member groups, Picture the Homeless, Miami Workers Center and Causa Justa:Just Cause. Click to see pictures of these local actions here. The action in Miami took place on the steps of the courthouse where the lawsuit was being filed. In New York, dozens of homeless residents held a press conference in front of Grand Central Terminal, giving testimony to their need for affordable housing. Last, in the Bay Area in California, a Can’t Wait for Housing march highlighted displacement and the shortage of affordable housing while street theatre performers articulate a vision for affordable housing. MORE TO COME!!
Support Danielle and the Homes For All movement! Sign our petition to ensure funding for affordable housing nationally!