Right to the City - News

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

WASHINGTON — Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/2013/07/advocates_sue_for_affordable_housing_money#sthash.oPZMM1b1.dpuf

Repost from AP

WASHINGTON—Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.


Read more: Advocates sue for affordable housing money - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_23626593/advocates-sue-affordable-housing-money#ixzz2Yywfoz4X

JULY 9TH- REPOSTED FROM AP

WASHINGTON Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

Click here for article

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - Two non-profit housing advocacy groups on Tuesday sued the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for prohibiting the government-run companies to finance a federal affordable-housing trust fund established by Congress.

The National Housing Trust Fund, set up in 2008, has never received contributions from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as originally intended by Congress. The fund, which aims to provide subsidies to rehabilitate and fund low-income housing, hasn't been capitalized because the regulator has kept Fannie and Freddie from contributing since the height of the financial crisis when the two companies crashed.

Now that the two mortgage finance companies have returned to profitability, housing advocates want to see the trust fund restored. The conditions that prompted the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to suspend payments in 2008 no longer exist, the groups claim.

Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said the FHFA was dragging its feet in not allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support the fund.

"The delay caused by the Federal Housing Finance Agency is unconscionable, given the growing shortage of housing that is affordable for the lowest income Americans," said Crowley, whose organization is one of the plaintiffs.

The group filed the suit, along with four individuals and the Right to the City Alliance, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. They are seeking to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make payments into the trust fund.

Since they were taken over by the government in 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have drawn $187.5 billion in taxpayer aid. By the end of June, they have paid about $132 billion in dividends to taxpayers for the support.

The advocacy groups estimate that FHFA has kept Fannie and Freddie from making $382 million in payments to the affordable-housing fund.

The improved financial footing of the companies has prompted various stakeholders to attempt to take hold of their profits.

On Sunday, a hedge fund filed a lawsuit against both the U.S. Treasury and the FHFA alleging they violated the 2008 law that put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

Perry Capital, which began investing in both firms in 2010, claimed in the lawsuit that shareholder value was impaired when the government instituted new terms on the bailout agreement last year.

Under the new terms, Fannie and Freddie must turn over most of their profits to the government. Previously they had been required to pay a quarterly dividend of only 10 percent on the government's nearly 80 percent stake.

FOR FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE

(Reuters) - Two non-profit housing advocacy groups on Tuesday sued the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for prohibiting the government-run companies to finance a federal affordable-housing trust fund established by Congress.

The National Housing Trust Fund, set up in 2008, has never received contributions from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, as originally intended by Congress. The fund, which aims to provide subsidies to rehabilitate and fund low-income housing, hasn't been capitalized because the regulator has kept Fannie and Freddie from contributing since the height of the financial crisis when the two companies crashed.

Now that the two mortgage finance companies have returned to profitability, housing advocates want to see the trust fund restored. The conditions that prompted the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to suspend payments in 2008 no longer exist, the groups claim.

Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said the FHFA was dragging its feet in not allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support the fund.

"The delay caused by the Federal Housing Finance Agency is unconscionable, given the growing shortage of housing that is affordable for the lowest income Americans," said Crowley, whose organization is one of the plaintiffs.

The group filed the suit, along with four individuals and the Right to the City Alliance, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. They are seeking to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make payments into the trust fund.

Since they were taken over by the government in 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have drawn $187.5 billion in taxpayer aid. By the end of June, they have paid about $132 billion in dividends to taxpayers for the support.

The advocacy groups estimate that FHFA has kept Fannie and Freddie from making $382 million in payments to the affordable-housing fund.

The improved financial footing of the companies has prompted various stakeholders to attempt to take hold of their profits.

On Sunday, a hedge fund filed a lawsuit against both the U.S. Treasury and the FHFA alleging they violated the 2008 law that put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship.

Perry Capital, which began investing in both firms in 2010, claimed in the lawsuit that shareholder value was impaired when the government instituted new terms on the bailout agreement last year.

Under the new terms, Fannie and Freddie must turn over most of their profits to the government. Previously they had been required to pay a quarterly dividend of only 10 percent on the government's nearly 80 percent stake.

(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

 

For full story click here

Two housing advocacy groups are suing federal housing officials, claiming they are illegally withholding at least $382 million from a fund created by Congress to support affordable rental housing for poor people.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Right to the City Alliance filed suit in federal court in Miami on Tuesday seeking to have the Federal Housing Finance Agency provide the money to a national housing trust fund.

The trust was created five years ago. Funding was supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage guarantee giants. They nearly collapsed during the financial crisis and the trust hasn't been funded.

After a $187 billion government bailout, Fannie and Freddie are profitable again, pumping billions of dollars into the Treasury.

Published in the Wall Street Journal. By Nick Timiraos.

Nonprofit Groups Say Mortgage-Finance Firms Should Contribute Trust Funds

Two nonprofit housing organizations filed suit Tuesday against the regulator of Fannie Mae FNMA -3.47% and Freddie Mac FMCC -1.88% for not allowing the mortgage-finance companies to contribute funds to two federal affordable-housing trust funds.

Congress established two funds in July 2008 to finance low-income housing with a fraction of the annual revenue of Fannie and Freddie, but the companies' regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, suspended those payments in November 2008, two months after the companies were rescued from collapse by the U.S. government.

The Treasury has spent more than $150 billion to prop up the firms throughout the financial crisis. Now that Fannie and Freddie have begun reporting large profits, the housing groups argue that Fannie and Freddie should resume making payments to the funds and that the FHFA, which is acting as the firms' conservator, can't indefinitely suspend those payments.

"The conservator can't simply ignore the law," said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, which is one of the plaintiffs. She said the circumstances that led the FHFA to suspend those payments no longer apply because the payments wouldn't jeopardize the solvency of the companies.

An FHFA spokeswoman didn't immediately comment on the lawsuit.

In the past, the FHFA has said that Fannie and Freddie should be barred from normal business activities, including payments to the trust funds, so long as they require taxpayer support. In a letter to the chief executives of both companies in November 2008, the FHFA said it was suspending the trust-fund payments because they would "further contribute to the financial instability" of Fannie and Freddie.

The suit is the latest in a flurry of efforts by different groups to claim a share of the growing profits of Fannie and Freddie, which have begun to send large payments to federal coffers over the past year. Last month, Fannie and Freddie paid $66 billion to the Treasury in the form of dividend payments.

The suit, filed early Tuesday in federal court in Miami, follows a separate lawsuit filed late Sunday in federal court in Washington by a hedge fund that invested in preferred shares in Fannie and Freddie. The hedge fund, Perry Capital LLC, is seeking to strike down an amendment to Fannie's and Freddie's bailout agreement that requires the companies to send all of their profits to the U.S. Treasury.

The lawsuits illustrate how the U.S. government faces greater scrutiny of its administration of Fannie and Freddie now that the firms are producing record profits and sending all of them to the government. The challenges are only "going to multiply until Congress reforms the companies," said Julia Gordon, director of housing finance and policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Congress created two different housing trust funds in 2008 to build a dedicated revenue source for low-income housing that wasn't subject to the annual appropriations process. The trust funds allow states and state-designated grantees to apply for money that will finance new rental housing or rehabilitate existing units for families with very low incomes, often those earning 30% or less of the median income in their communities.

Fannie and Freddie were required to set aside 0.04% of every dollar in new mortgage purchases for the trust funds, which would have amounted to less than $500 million last year, according to the lawsuit.

"Winning this lawsuit would yield the largest new investment in low-income affordable housing in over 30 years," said Rachel LaForest, executive director of Right to the City Alliance, a political advocacy group that is a co-plaintiff.

A report released last month showed that the number of extremely low-income renters jumped by 2.5 million to 12.1 million households between 2007 and 2011, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. The number of affordable rental units, meanwhile, edged down over the same period, to 6.8 million from 6.9 million.

In the lawsuit filed late Sunday, Perry Capital said that the Treasury's decision to require Fannie and Freddie to send all of their profits to the government as dividend payments represented a "blatant overreach" that "illegally begins to liquidate" Fannie and Freddie. Perry Capital is being represented by Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, a former U.S. solicitor general.

A Treasury spokesman said the government was reviewing the lawsuit.

Perry Capital is one of a handful of hedge funds and other investors that began buying up the preferred shares at large discounts beginning over the past four years on the bet that Fannie's and Freddie's return to profitability could lead to a big payout. Last summer's revamp of the bailout agreement prevents Fannie and Freddie from rebuilding capital or redeeming a new class of "senior preferred" shares owed by the Treasury.

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.

Take Action and sign the petition to ensure funding for affordable housing nationally!

rtc-danielle-prDanielle 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!

Jun
19
2013

The Rights of Cities

Written by

Click here for full article in the REBEL METROPOLIS

What is the Right to the City movement?  Where did it come from?  Where is it going?  Who are the actors and organizers sculpting this new social structure?  In asking these questions and studying their answers, it’s impossible to not recognize one’s own role in this current wave of civil unrest across the globe.  If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been involved in the Right to the City movement for some time.

In Turkey, a battle to save the last public green space from the private development of an upscale mall has mushroomed into a national upheaval.  In San Francisco, a similar resistance was so inspired by current events in Istanbul that activists renamed the gardens they hope to save from destruction after the now famous Gezi Park.  The 2008 film ‘The Garden‘ chronicles a community’s heartbreaking struggle to save 14 acres of urban farmland in Los Angeles from a developer hell-bent on proving that nobody should have a free right to land.

Yet beyond street fights over land use, Right to the City encompasses broader circles of urban autonomy.  Here in Portland, a recent scheme orchestrated by high paid lobbyists and so called ‘health’ consultants aimed at dosing Portland’s pristine water supply with fluorosilicic acid was crushed by a popular voter revolt.  Most noted was the fact that the vote against fluoridation was overwhelming in the very communities who allegedly were suffering from a “dental crisis” that only fluoride would fix.  With the fluoridation fight seemingly over, a new front in the water wars has emerged.  Communities are organizing to obtain a waiver that would prevent Portland’s open-air reservoirs from being covered and converted to underground tanks.  Left unchecked, this federally mandated move would pose a series of health risks to Portland’s pristine Bull Run drinking water, and would cost taxpayers over $400,000.00 for the initial construction contract alone.  The current plan to stop the mandate is to remove the Water Bureau from the control of city hall and place it in the hands of a People’s Utility District via ballot measure in May of 2014.

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