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New housing advocacy group launches to fight GSE reform

Housing activists want to protect Fannie, Freddie

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A partnership of businesses, civil rights organizations and trade associations are launching United for American Homeownership, a coalition dedicated to supporting communities by preserving and strengthening Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The group joins an unusual alliance of other organizations opposing proposed GSE reform measures such as Johnson-Crapo, which would effectively end the role of Fannie and Freddie.

“For decades, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been the backbone of a healthy housing market, ensuring affordability and access to the dream of American homeownership,” said former Senator Bob Kerrey, a member of the UAH Board of Directors. “But now Congress is considering legislation that could knock the housing market off track and keep many hardworking families from achieving the American dream of homeownership. Eliminating trusted institutions like Fannie and Freddie is a dangerous idea, and one that United for American Homeownership is prepared to fight all the way.”

Already, fiscal conservatives and Republicans oppose the heavy hand government will play under Johnson-Crapo. More than two dozen free market organizations including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Taxpayers Union, and the Club for Growth oppose the Johnson-Crapo bill.

These free market opponents are joined by unlikely allies such as the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and now United for American Homeownership, as well as 300 other community groups opposed to eliminating the GSE as part of reform.

“Homeownership is what catapulted America to the top of the world’s economy,” said Harry Alford, a member of the UAH Board of Directors and President and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “Without question or debate it was an increasing personal equity that developed our middle class and a legacy to be handled down to our heirs. Let us be careful in restoring the American Dream back to its healthy state.”

“Johnson-Crapo seeks to eliminate Fannie and Freddie while explicitly adding over $5 trillion in debt obligations to the Federal balance sheet; will establish a massive new government regulator; will consolidate more power in Wall Street’s biggest banks; and will cause significant disruptions to the housing market, threatening America’s economic recovery,” the group says.

“In seeking to dismantle Fannie and Freddie, the Johnson-Crapo plan threatens to disrupt the housing market by throwing into question the future of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage,” the group says.

The group notes that mortgage rates will rise under GSE reform, citing Barclays Capital and Moody’s Analytics warnings.

The broad coalition behind UAH consists of: The National Black Chamber of Commerce, RetireSafe, National Consumer League, National Organization for Women, Fair Housing Advocates Association and Fairholme.

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