A NEW HOUSING POLICY FOR THE NATION
WHEREAS, housing is at the core of strong communities, promoting neighborhood
stability, improved educational opportunity, employment stability, and helping owners
save for their futures; and
WHEREAS, housing serves as an economic generator and springboard which fosters
solutions for many other national and local priorities; and
WHEREAS, housing, however, has not kept pace with the needs of the residents in
most cities; and
WHEREAS, despite an all-time high homeownership rate in America of over 68 percent,
the rate in cities is only 50 percent and even lower for minority and low-and moderate-income households; and
WHEREAS, more than 14 million families spend more than half their income on
housing; clearly, in many markets, housing costs are growing faster than incomes,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for a
comprehensive national housing policy that addresses the variety of housing challenges
in our urban communities, including homeownership, rental housing, public housing,
special needs housing and homelessness issues; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the
Administration and Congress to work closely with the nation's mayors and their
communities on the following recommendations adopted at USCM's Housing Forum to
advance the goal of increasing affordable housing opportunities and access to housing:
- Provide an array of tools and resources to leverage the private sector to produce
and preserve an adequate supply of rental housing to meet cities' priorities.
- Provide a high priority within Federal programs on achieving both mixed income
developments and neighborhoods.
- Create a new rental housing production program to serve the needs of working
families with incomes up to 100 % AMI, providing adjustments for high cost
- Create a National Housing Trust Fund to meet the needs of low income
individuals and families through the production and preservation of rental
housing; and ensure cities receive a direct allocation of funds under the Fund.
- Provide full funding for federal programs supporting rental housing production.
- Provide within Federal programs significant incentives for regional fair share
housing agreements and production consistent with smart growth principles.
- Urge states to allocate existing housing resources in accordance with city
- Urge states to create a set aside of federal and state housing, social services
and transportation funds to provide cities with additional funds to implement
targeted comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies.
- Urge cities to reduce the regulatory costs of housing production and rehabilitation
by streamlining building codes, inspection and the permit process as well as by
adopting "smart codes."
- Eliminate the volume cap for mortgage revenue bonds, which fund the production
and preservation of affordable housing.
- Create a National Housing Opportunities Corporation to give technical assistance
and support to suburban communities to develop affordable housing.
- Expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to create mixed income
- Given the shortfalls in the production of multi-family housing over the past
decade, Congress should enact tax code provisions as incentives to the private
sector to expand and preserve the supply of rental housing and underserved
- Urge the public and private sector to promote regional planning and
implementation that develops and retains a diverse housing stock.
- Urge the public and private sectors to continue to fund homeownership education
and outreach, credit counseling programs, bilingual credit counseling and
financial literary programs.
- Expand the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to cover entities currently not
included by the act, such as marketing companies; expand CRA regulations to
include local operations when financial institutions are not locally owned; and
expand CRA ratings to include comprehensive community development
- Expand CDBG and HOME funding.
- Provide more flexibility to local governments in CDBG and HOME regulations
that limit the use of the funds for new construction.
- Adopt the Community Homeownership Tax Credit.
- Urge the public and private sectors to develop a secondary market for lenders to
non-traditional borrowers who have had appropriate counseling and seasoned
- Support homeownership through existing Federal policies such as the mortgage
interest deduction, mortgage revenue bonds and passage of predatory lending
- Urge cities to develop policies and programs which result in homeownership land
use opportunities such as land banking, military sites reuse, brownfields reuse
and in- fill housing.
- Provide full funding for comprehensive strategies such as the homeownership
zone, Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.
- Urge FHA to extend the amortization period to 40 years.
- Urge FHA to provide mortgages for accessing homeownership and home repairs
to borrowers with lower credit scores and non-traditional credit histories.
- Urge the public and private sectors to aggressively target education of the elderly
population of their opportunities to access financing for home repairs.
- Urge the public and private sectors to develop programs to support construction
management of repair projects for elderly residents.
- Enact predatory lending legislation.
- Create incentives for local PHAs to utilize homeownership Section 8 programs.
- Over the next decade reduce disparity of homeownership rates between white
and non-whites by 50 percent.
- Encourage Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create national employer-assisted
housing programs to support homeownership by working families.
- Enact legislation which funds the development of 150,000 units of public housing
annually for the next 10 years in a form which encourages income diversity and
fosters healthy urban neighborhoods.
- Urge cities to facilitate cooperative activities between public housing authorities
and public school systems in their communities; and urge Congress to authorize
and fund specific programs aimed at enhancing both educational activities and
housing environments of public housing children.
- Adopt Federal legislation that ensures public housing operating and capital
subsidies are allocated in a manner that is predictable, objective and consistent
with actual need, and ensure funds continue to be made available directly to
- Provide full funding for conventional public housing and Section 8 and allow cities
to use funding for the two programs interchangeably as local needs dictate from
time to time, including the capacity to increase the use of project based Section 8
beyond current levels.
- Urge reauthorization of HOPE VI for an additional 10 years and funded at levels
recommended by the Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing.
- Enact Federal legislation which provides maximum housing choice for senior
citizens and persons with disabilities including opportunities to remain at home
with necessary assistance.
- Enact Federal legislation which establishes valid and appropriate methods of
assessing pubic housing authority performance and provide maximum flexibility
for PHAs who perform well under the system.
Special Needs Housing
- Urge appointment of a Special Needs Coordinator in every city to coordinate and
optimize existing funding streams for special needs populations, including
Medicaid, CDBG, tax-exempt financing and other sources.
- Urge cities to charge its department leaders to develop collaborative programs
between sectors, such as housing and education, housing and health services,
and housing and children's services.
- Expand Section 202 funding for new construction and rental assistance.
- Provide funding for modernization of up to 32,000 units of elderly housing, with a
priority for accessibility and the delivery of supportive services.
- Provide funding to preserve elderly housing, permitting non-profit organizations
to purchase elderly housing projects with expiring Section 8 contracts.
- Provide funding for Service Coordinators in 21,000 units of elderly housing and
provide for the ability to fund Service Coordinators through PRAC contracts.
- Increase Section 811 funding for the disabled to prior levels.
- •Increase McKinney Act homeless assistance grants.
- •Urge cities to dedicate 10 percent or more of all housing units in projects
supported with locally administered federal funds for homeless and special needs
populations, under a competitive application process.
- Streamline the Section 811 program for disabled housing to permit smaller scale
projects and more flexible use of funds for purposes like capital grants, services,
and tenant support.
- Provide homeless housing renewals (i.e., Shelter Plus Care, the Supportive
Housing Programs, and the SRO Program) through the mainstream HUD
Housing Certificate Fund, rather than through renewals of the McKinney Act
- Provide increased Federal resources for supportive services, including non-HUD
funding streams, such as HHS, Veteran Affairs, and Labor.
- Support exit-tax relief to existing owners to encourage the transfer and long-term
preservation of affordable rental housing to preservation entities.
- Oppose the recession of Section 236 funds and urge that these funds be made
available per Title V of the FY '98 appropriation act to rehabilitate HUD-assisted
- Urge states to award bonus points in their QAP or tax credits award process and
create set-asides for long-term preservation of HUD-assisted Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit properties.
- Urge the Federal government to focus more on small unassisted properties (less
than 30 units), which are being lost at alarming rates.
- HUD should conduct a needs assessment to determine the scope of the
problem and create a sketch of the owners.
- HUD should develop programmatic responses from the data.
- In conjunction with the needs assessment, engage the GSEs (Fannie and
Freddie Mac) in developing financing products and outreach to the
- Mayors advocate increased funding for CDBG and HOME for subsidized
loans and grants to create long-term affordability for these small rental
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors will urge HUD to appoint a
dedicated leader who has overall responsibility for preserving the affordable rental
housing inventory and reporting to cities and other municipalities on at least an annual
basis on the status of the inventory in all communities in the U.S.