Mel Martinez Links Housing Policy Overhaul to Economic Recovery
Former Florida US Senator Mel Martinez says federal housing policy needs an overhaul, to help spur the economic recovery.
Martinez, who was Housing and Urban Development secretary under George W. Bush, is part of a think-tank pushing for changes to national housing policy.
The Bipartisan Policy Center’s housing commission report, released on Monday, recommends winding down the government back mortgage corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and encouraging a bigger role for the private sector in bearing credit risk.
Martinez says the housing policy reforms would especially help Florida.
“Until we see a new beginning to the housing marketplace, the overall economy will not recover. That’s particularly true in Central Florida. When we look at the headlines in our papers which suggest foreclosures are still at an all time high, there’s still a lot of pain out there.”
Martinez says the slow housing market is also having an effect on employment rates in Florida.
The report also identifies growing demand for affordable rental housing. The commission recommends expanding the low income housing tax credit and providing additional federal funding for public housing.