Policy Statement: Housing
The National Urban League advocates the following position on housing:
The Urban League believes that strong, economically secure communities begin with progressive housing policies and financially literate citizens.
The family home represents the single largest asset held by a majority of African-Americans. It is not only the fulfillment of the American dream, it represents the on-ramp for future prosperity and plays a crucial role in the acquisition and transfer of wealth. As the American housing market recovers and African Americans work to regain the wealth they lost with its collapse, the National Urban League works to ensure that new consumer regulations will not sideline African Americans from acquiring affordable housing, whether purchased, public, or rental; or acquiring wealth.
Moreover, the Urban League and our affiliates also focus on programs and policies that promote financial literacy, informed homeownership, affordable rental options, and the development of healthy, economically strong communities. Measures for which the Urban League advocates include:
Improved Access to Affordable Credit For Qualified Borrowers
The Urban League has taken up the fight to protect access to affordable lending for all qualified borrowers with a sustainable income and a demonstrated history of financial responsibility through collaborative policy work with numerous housing advocacy allies and by publicly speaking out against the regulatory lurch towards punitive and restrictive lending guidelines and. NUL has joined a bipartisan effort calling for the withdrawal of the federal government’s proposed Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) ruling in favor of a more reasonable guideline that protects lenders and responsible middle-class borrowers alike.
Meaningful GSE Reform
The Urban League has taken a public position supporting the continued presence of the federal government in the sponsorship of soundly underwritten affordable mortgages. From conversations with Obama Administration representatives to public letters to Cabinet Secretaries and published articles such as “Mend It, Don’t End It: Sage Advice for Reforming America’s Housing Finance System,” The Urban League has argued in favor of Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) reform that strengthens the federal government’s ability to sponsor creditworthy borrowers and provide the underpinnings of a vibrant residential housing market that meets the needs of all Americans.
Effective Public and Private Responses to the Foreclosure Crisis
Communities of color continue to suffer under the strain of the ever-worsening foreclosure crisis. The Urban League has appealed to the leaders of the various organizations responsible for US housing policy, as well as the country’s major housing finance lenders to devise new regulations with the staggering scope of the ongoing housing crisis in mind. The Urban League has conducted meetings with representatives of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing and Finance
A Comprehensive US Housing Policy that Includes Affordable Rental and Residential Stock
The Urban League acknowledges and understands the growing need for residential housing in the US, both rental and privately owned. The US Census Bureau projects the creation of over 17 million new US households over the next fifteen years. The need for affordable rental housing will play a crucial in the development of a national housing policy that meets the changing needs of the American family. NUL has developed the Homebuyers Bill of Rights to advocate for the vigilant enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. The Urban League has also played a key role in ensuring that the rising political will attributed to the need for affordable housing stock does not overlook the critical importance of rental housing.