UPDATE: What Do Multi-Housing Players Think of Obama and McCain?

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–While most housing groups agree that Sen. Barack Obama would be better for affordable housing (see our story titled ‘Online Poll Says Majority of Low-Income Voters Favor Obama,’ published today), there is no such consensus on the issue of housing in general. While the National Housing Conference says neither candidate has addressed the major problems facing housing, the National Multi Housing Council believes each candidate has positive and negative aspects to their policies.“Sen. McCain has talked about the homeownership resurgence program, which is tied to the mortgage crisis, and Sen. Obama has talked about Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), homeownership education and has supported the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund,” Sharon Price, director of policy for the National Housing Conference, tells MHN. “But I wouldn’t choose either of them. We need broader, far-reaching proposals that would help people live in their homes. There needs to be a bulk-restructuring program—something that would force the hand of the lender,” says Price. “Overall, Obama is more focused on community and development issues,” she believes.The National Housing Conference is a bipartisan group and will not endorse either candidate. “Whoever is elected will have to make big changes and take actions quickly and not get in the way of programs that are currently in progress under the FDIC, HUD and Treasury,” Price explains.Jim Arbury, senior vice president of government affairs, is on the fence. “I can’t give a straight answer,” he tells MHN. “On the one hand, the Democrats are more likely to provide adequate funding for affordable housing issues, either through Section 8 or low-income tax credit equities, but also mandates and rules, which make it difficult for people to invest in this sector.”Arbury continues, “On the other hand, Republicans are not so willing to fund those programs, which also means less regulation. From our point of view, we have to work with whichever side wins. But it would be ideal to have the funding without new regulations.”Denise B. Muha, executive director of the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA), believes that Obama’s record shows he will do more for affordable housing. “Neither candidate has put out a whole lot of information on housing, but Sen. Barack Obama has offered at least some,” says Muha. “Sen. Obama has experience with assisted housing and there is evidence that he understands housing issues based on the fact that one of his closest advisors, Valerie Jarrett, has been a high-ranking executive at the Habitat Co.”NLHA is a membership organization involved in the development, management and administration of federally assisted rental housing for persons of low and moderate incomes.