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Bipartisan Policy Center releases plan to reform housing finance system

Frank Keating

Frank Keating

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a think-tank organization that promotes bipartisan policy solutions, recently released a housing plan that calls for a reduced role of government in the U.S. housing finance system and the reform of housing assistance programs.

“The report is a strong one, which I believe charts a course for a much needed return of the private market to housing finance. It also states where government involvement is needed it is explicit, paid for, and limited,” Frank Keating, the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, said. “Together we have crafted a set of proposals that are reasonable, effective and realistic, and address critical policy issues in a manner that can be supported by the diverse interests we represent.”

The plan calls for reforms that would implement a performance-based system to deliver federal rental assistance, to preserve and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, and to shift existing resources to help the most vulnerable households, Mortgage Orb reports.

The plan notes the importance of housing counseling to prepare first-time homebuyers for homeownership and recommends proposals that will allow seniors to “age in place.” The proposal also calls for continued support for homeownership and rental assistance for nearly one-third of Americans who live in rural communities.

The commission’s four co-chairmen, including former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell, former Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), and former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, said that the government has not yet proposed a strategy to reform the housing finance system.

“Six years after the collapse of the housing market, the problems in housing remain as severe as ever and solutions continue to be elusive,” the committee members said, according to Mortgage Orb. “We hope [our report] will serve as a catalyst for action.”

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