Dave Lollis, Frontier Vice-Chairman, and  Tom Carew of Frontier Housing visit with Congressman Geoff Davis

Last week Dave Lollis, Frontier Vice-Chairman, Tom Carew with Frontier Housing in Morehead, and Jim King, CEO of the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, visited the office of Congressman Geoff Davis from Kentucky’s 4th District. Both were in Washington, D.C., for the National Rural Housing Coalition conference. Congressman Davis said, “I appreciate Tom and Jim keeping me up-to-date on the housing issues in our region.”

Tom Carew asked Congressman Geoff Davis for his support of the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act, which passed out of Financial Services Committee.

From Congressman Geoff Davis:
I applaud the passage this week of H.R. 1427, the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2007, in the House Financial Services Committee. The bi-partisan legislation, which will strengthen regulatory oversight of the government sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, passed by a vote of 45-19.

This important legislation will create a new, independent regulator with increased authority and oversight power that is more similar to the banking regulators. The new regulator will ensure the safety and soundness of the GSEs, as well as focus on the original housing mission of helping more Americans become homeowners.
The bill also creates an affordable housing fund, estimated to generate around $500 million annually, depending on the portfolio size of the GSEs. As the bill currently reads, the Affordable Housing Fund will be distributed among the state housing agencies. Organizations may then apply for the funds through a competitive grant process.
I was happy to support two amendments to H.R. 1427 during the Committee mark-up that will directly impact affordable and rural housing in Kentucky.
The bill, as introduced, directed 100% of the Affordable Housing Fund to help very low and extremely low income families who are at or below 30% of the median income. However, in some of Kentucky's poorer counties, 30% of the median income could amount to only $9,000 or less. It would be virtually impossible for local housing organizations to use the Fund to assist any of these families who are clearly in need.

I spoke out on behalf of the manager's amendment offered by Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank [D-MA], which included a provision to change the definition of "very low income family" to include any family residing in a rural area that has an income that does not exceed the poverty line applicable to their family size. The change adopted in the manager's amendment will ensure that families in poorer areas of Kentucky will reap the benefits of the Affordable Housing Fund.

Additionally I spoke in support of an amendment offered by Congressman Albio Sires [D-NJ] to remove language in the underlying bill that would reduce the number of directors for many States on each regional Federal Home Loan Bank's Board of Directors. Currently, the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati includes four directors from Ohio, two from Kentucky and two from Tennessee. H.R. 1427 as introduced would require distribution of directors to be based on the percentage of a State's assets in the Bank. Under this formula, Kentucky would lose a director.
Congressman Sires' amendment ensures that Kentucky will retain two elective directorships and continue to be well represented on the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.

Subsequent to the adoption of these two amendments, I joined my colleagues in approving both amendments by voice vote. H.R. 1427 is now ready for consideration by the full House.