Housing Bill Becomes Law

Legislation was signed into law on Wednesday that will help hundreds of thousands of troubled borrowers avoid losing their homes and shore up the nation's two largest mortgage finance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee almost half of the nation's $12 trillion in mortgages. "Senator Leahy, Congressman Welch and I worked hard to make sure that Vermont got it fair share of funding from this major housing bill - and I think we accomplished that," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Tw

Legislation was signed into law on Wednesday that will help hundreds of thousands of troubled borrowers avoid losing their homes and shore up the nation's two largest mortgage finance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee almost half of the nation's $12 trillion in mortgages. "Senator Leahy, Congressman Welch and I worked hard to make sure that Vermont got it fair share of funding from this major housing bill - and I think we accomplished that," Senator Bernie Sanders said. "Twenty million dollars for affordable housing in Vermont will not only address a serious housing problem, but will help put people to work at decent paying jobs in construction. It's a good step forward."

After threatening a veto, President Bush, without fanfare, signed the legislation that would help communities ease the harmful effects of foreclosures and delinquencies. Vermont would receive almost $20 million of $3.92 billion in supplemental Community Development Block Grants. "Vermont cities and towns will be able to provide immediate assistance to the struggling middle class trying to hold onto their homes and revitalize neighborhoods in communities hit hard by foreclosures," Sanders said.

The measure also creates an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, an idea first introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders seven years ago. As a House member in 2001, Sanders first introduced legislation to create a trust fund to help build affordable homes and rental housing. The new law creates a dedicated fund to build, repair or rehabilitate affordable rental units and assist first-time homebuyers. The funds would be distributed to states and local communities. "This provision will play a significant role in building affordable housing for low- and moderate-income people, as well as the disabled," Sanders said.

Another $57 million is allotted nationwide for federal grants to help disabled veterans adapt their homes. "With so many service members coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabilities, it is absolutely imperative that we make sure they have as normal a life as possible and that certainly includes adapting their homes to meet their needs," Sanders said of the provision tacked on in the Senate.