Housing advocates in Nebraska, led by the Nebraska Housing Developers Association, have won a commitment of $1 million in National Mortgage Settlement funds for the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. After fighting state proposals to redirect and reduce funds dedicated to the Afford-able Housing Trust Fund, advocates have found their increased advocacy having a measurable impact.
In 2011 funds were diverted from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to the state’s Site and Building Development Fund and an Industrial Recovery Fund. The documentary stamp tax dedicated to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund was also reduced, but advocates prevented more dire proposals from passing. Because of the strong advocacy, the trust fund was not hit has hard as had been proposed.
Now winning an additional $1 million to help recover lost revenues to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, advocates are also looking to the possibility of additional revenues in 2013 with a strong legislative champion on the Appropriations Committee. The state, itself, received more than $8 million from the National Mortgage Settlement.
The Nebraska Housing Developers Association has been strengthening its statewide policy network by mapping where its members are throughout the state and developing a strong policy advocacy strategy. The Association has nearly sixty members statewide.
Danielle Hill, Executive Director of the Nebraska Housing Developers Association offers her appreciation for the advocacy statewide: “Thanks to the many advocates who engaged in the legislative process. This is the first time the Fund has received an increase of dollars, since 2005 and is a step in the right direction to restore funding previously lost from the Housing Trust Fund.” Hill adds, “Housing is a critical component to keeping our communities strong and making a positive impact on our economy. In addition to creating jobs and leveraging other resources, every dollar of the Housing Trust Fund invested in our communities is multiplied seven times in community benefits, e.g., increased tax revenues to support public services, increased revenues to local businesses, and etc.”
The Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund was created by legislation in 1996 with the dedication of documentary stamp tax (real estate transfer tax) revenues. It is administered by the Department of Economic Development. The Fund has awarded at least $88 million since its inception creating nearly 5,000 homes. These funds were leveraged by more than $300 million in additional public and private funds and helped create at least 6,300 jobs.
Lincoln Senator Danielle Conrad pro-posed that the total of $8.8 million in settlement funds be used for affordable housing. While not finding support for all of the funds going into the state’s housing trust fund, she did succeed in transferring $1 million. “In my opinion,” Conrad said, “these funds were meant to help make up for misdeeds related to the recent housing crisis, thus they should be used for housing programs,” according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
The Nebraska Housing Developers Association is looking to build its advocacy with this success and gain additional revenues in 2013 to help strengthen the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Contact: Danielle Hill, Nebraska Housing Developers Association, 3883 Normal Blvd., Suite 206, Lincoln, NE 68506 (402-435-0315) www.housingdevelopers.org