Subcommittee Reviews Reforms that Create Housing Opportunity
October 21, 2015 -
As part of the Financial Services Committee’s year-long examination of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) during its 50th anniversary year, the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee held a hearing today to examine how the federal government can better provide housing assistance in the 21st century and serve the housing needs of low-income individuals and families.
To help accomplish these goals, the hearing focused on H.R. 3700, the “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015” introduced by Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). H.R. 3700 is a bipartisan bill that reforms certain HUD and Rural Housing Service programs in order to improve their effectiveness and provide enhanced opportunities for beneficiaries and the organizations that serve them. The bill streamlines the inspection protocol for rental assistance units, simplifies the income recertification policies for all assisted households, modifies Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requirements for mortgage insurance for condominiums, delegates rural housing loan approval authority, and provides limited flexibility between public housing operating and capital funds.
“This (witness) panel represents a diverse cross-section of the housing community. We have a Realtor, a home builder, a nonprofit executive, a public housing authority director, a witness specialized in affordable housing development, and housing policy experts. There is a common bond that links these individuals: the mission to provide housing to Americans; to provide the foundation for better lives and build better communities,” said Chairman Luetkemeyer.
“Many of these witnesses share another commonality: the desire to see changes in federal programs so they can more easily serve families in need. That’s why this Committee solicited organizations like the ones represented today for ideas on how to cut red tape and replace it with opportunity,” Luetkemeyer added.
Topline Witness Quotes:
“H.R. 3700 incorporates many provisions that have enjoyed broad supported by a vast group of housing stakeholders. The bill makes important changes to existing programs that will make it easier for housing providers to serve higher-need households and increase housing opportunities for extremely low-income individuals and families. CSH looks forward to working with the Chairman and Ranking Member, as well, as the rest of the House Financial Services Committee to pass this important piece of legislation.” – Hilary Swab Gawrilow, Director of Federal Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing
“It is commendable that the subcommittee is holding a hearing on streamlining and strengthening federal housing programs…The reforms in the bill would substantially reduce administrative burdens for state and local housing agencies and private owners while giving them added flexibility to further key goals such as reducing homelessness, improving access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and addressing repair needs in public housing. At the same time, the reforms would leave in place the core characteristics that have helped make federal rental assistance effective.” - Will Fischer, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities