Congressman Torres Leads Bicameral Push to Permanently Extend the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) Risk-Sharing Program

Feb 24, 2024
In the News

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) led a letter with Representative Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) and Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) advocating for the permanent extension of the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) Risk-Sharing program. In a letter addressed to Treasury Secretary Yellen, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Fudge, National Economic Council Director Brainard, and Office of Management and Budget Chair Young, the members and senators emphasize the program’s critical role in advancing affordable housing goals and stimulating economic growth.

The FFB Risk-Sharing program, established in 2014, has proven to be an effective tool in closing funding gaps in the private markets and facilitating affordable housing production. Since its inception, the program has closed or committed $4.9 billion in loans, supporting the financing of 42,000 housing units. 

Despite its proven track record, the FFB Risk-Sharing program is scheduled to close for new applications after September 30th, 2024. This impending closure threatens to eliminate a vital source of low-cost capital for affordable housing developers, making it even more challenging to close the housing gap. The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that the U.S. is currently short 7.3 million units affordable and available for the lowest-income Americans.

“Ensuring access to safe, affordable housing is a fundamental right. The Federal Financing Bank (FFB) Risk-Sharing program has been instrumental in advancing this cause, providing crucial support for affordable housing projects,” said Rep. Torres. “Its impending closure would be a significant setback, hindering our efforts to close the housing gap. I urge for the permanent extension of this program to continue its vital work in stimulating economic growth and meeting the housing needs of our communities.”

“Our nation’s housing crisis is putting extreme pressure on American families and putting access to safe and affordable housing out of reach for many,” said Rep. Velázquez. “The Federal-Financing Bank and Risk Sharing Program has proven time and time again to successfully expand affordable housing, and because of FFB’s involvement, local housing development agencies can reach deeper levels of affordability that poses no risk to the taxpayer. By permanently extending this successful program, we can help state and local communities meet their housing needs long into the future.”

“Our nation desperately needs more housing that hardworking families can afford.  Extending the Federal Financing Bank Risk-Sharing program would help local developers create and preserve affordable rental housing units in Rhode Island and nationwide, without requiring additional federal spending,” said Senator Reed.

“Affordable housing is becoming increasingly hard to access,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The FFB Risk-Sharing program has helped open the gates to increasing the quality and supply of affordable housing available for low-income and middle-class families across the country. I’m calling on the Biden administration to make this productive program permanent.”

Secretary Fudge’s recent endorsement of extending the FFB Risk-Sharing program during a House Financial Services Committee hearing highlights the program’s support from the Biden administration and its potential to drive economic activity and job creation. The program’s success underscores its importance in addressing the nation’s affordable housing shortage. Permanently extending the program will not only help create and preserve affordable housing, it will support economic growth in communities across the country. 

15 Senate Democrats and 18 House Democrats signed the letter led by Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) with Representative Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) and Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), including: Sherrod Brown (OH), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Richard Blumenthal (CT), John Fetterman (PA), Maggie Hassan (NH), Martin Heinrich (NM), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Edward J. Markey (MA), Alex Padilla (CA), Bernard Sanders (VT), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Mark R. Warner (VA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Peter Welch (VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Gabe Amo (RI-01), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Sean Casten (IL-06), Judy Chu (CA-28), Bill Foster (IL-11), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Ann Kuster (NH-02), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03), Seth Magaziner (RI-02), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James McGovern (MA-02), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Janice Schakowsky (IL-09), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), and Rashida Tlaib (MI-12).

The letter can be viewed here.

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