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

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–With Nov. 4 approaching fast, most questions about the two presidential candidates’ policy positions have been answered. But there is one question that hasn’t been asked too often—who between the two presidential candidates, Republican Sen. John McCain, or Democrat Sen. Barack Obama would be better for multifamily housing? We posed this question to a few industry experts and found there is no consensus on the overall multi-housing issues but when it comes to affordable housing, as expected, the Democratic candidate is the preferred choice.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 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.”He goes on, “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), agreed 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 Habitat Co.” The National Leased Housing Association is a membership organization involved in the development, management and administration of federally assisted rental housing for persons of low and moderate incomes. Muha adds that Obama “has shown in the past that he understands the need for affordable housing. We hope that he will support the preservation of affordable housing and that he will be a good listener and partner in this.”