After a rules change, known as the “nuclear option,” was passed in the US Senate, Representative Mel Watt was confirmed as director of the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA). All affordable housing advocates’ eyes are now on Watt to finally implement funding of the National Housing Trust Fund from the profits of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to watch for other reforms to the national housing finance system to support low- and moderate-income households.

Just days after Mel Watt took office Jan. 6, a group of Senators, including NH’s Senator Jeanne Shaheen, sent a letter to Watt asking him to begin the capitalization of the Trust Fund as required by law. The letter points out that Fannie and Freddie have reported seven and eight consecutive quarters of profit, respectively, and have paid more than $185 billion in dividends to Treasury. The NHTF is seen as a critical piece of the solution of addressing the lack of affordable rental housing nationwide. A New York Times editorial gets to the heart of the matter at