Today, Tuesday July 9th, 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.
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.
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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 will also be also taking place in three cities today led by our Right to the City member groups, Picture the Homeless, Miami Workers Center and Causa Justa::Just Cause. The action in Miami will take place on the steps of the courthouse where the lawsuit is being filed. In New York, in front of Grand Central Terminal, several homeless residents will give testimony to their need for affordable housing and in the Bay Area in California, a Can’t Wait for Housing march will highlight displacement and the shortage of affordable housing while street theatre performers articulate a vision for affordable housing.
Support Danielle and the Homes For All movement! Sign our petition to ensure funding for affordable housing nationally!