The Bipartisan Policy Center formed a new housing commission Wednesday that will draft policy recommendations over the next year. The Washington think tank will be led by Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez, former secretaries of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as former Sens. Kit Bond and George Mitchell. "Housing is not only a basic human need," Mitchell, former Senate Majority Leader from Maine, said at a Wednesday press conference. "It is also a critical element of our economy, and now, more than ever, is the time for a fresh look at this issue." The full commission, which will be announced at a later date, will be mostly made up of housing experts, business leaders, former elected officials and academics. Its first public forum will be in March 2012 in San Antonio. "Solving these issues and addressing long-term questions on the role of government in housing will be no small stump to jump, but we cannot afford to fail," according to Bond, the four-term senator from Missouri. The Bipartisan Policy Center was founded in 2007 by Mitchell and former Senator Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschele and Bob Dole. Write to Andrew Scoggin. Follow him on Twitter @ascoggin.