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Poverty & Race Research Action Council Applauds BPC Housing Report's Focus On Affordable Housing; Raises Concerns About Reduced Government Involvement

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) today applauded many of the recommendations of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, which issued a report proposing a national housing policy that seeks to further the nation's economic recovery and meet the housing needs of America's most vulnerable households.   

Philip Tegeler, PRRAC's president, said his organization welcomed many of the Commission's recommendations, but questioned whether increased privatization, retargeting of housing assistance, and an outcome-based housing policy – all priorities in the Commission's housing report - can be implemented in ways that ensure a stable, accessible supply of affordable housing for the range of people who rely on it.

"Clearly, the Commission has made some recommendations that can improve the supply of affordable housing for families and individuals of all income levels," Mr. Tegeler said. "At the same time, we are skeptical about proposals that would significantly reduce government involvement in housing finance.  There may be legitimate concerns that the private industry will focus on reducing their risks and increasing profits and implement standards for mortgage loans that will leave sustainable homeownership out of reach for many Americans."

Another issue, Mr. Tegeler said, is whether liquidity for multifamily housing, including housing that is affordable for moderate - and lower-income families, could truly be ensured in a system that pares down the federal government's current important role in housing finance.

But Mr. Tegeler called it "very significant" that the Commission recommended that the federal government "encourage the removal of local and state barriers to the development of rental housing" by ensuring that "communities employing highly restrictive zoning" are "not rewarded with larger allocations of federal housing funds."  If implemented, Mr. Tegeler said this policy could help reduce segregated housing patterns in the country by opening the way for more development of affordable housing in affluent communities.

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