REPS. THOMPSON LEADS COLLEAGUES IN ASKING FEDERAL HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY TO ISSUE GUIDANCE ALLOWING MORE HOMEOWNERS TO PARTICIPATE IN PACE PROGRAMS
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) today sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mel Watt to ask that the FHFA issue policy guidance that allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fully participate in Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs across our country.
“After years of working to allow more homeowners to be able to take advantage of this innovative financing tool when making energy efficient retrofits to their homes, we’ve finally begun to see progress made the Administration in the past year,” said Rep. Thompson. Now that the FHA has issued policy guidance to allow homeowners with FHA-insured properties to participate in PACE programs, it’s time for the FHFA to follow suit and issue guidance without further delay.”
After the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a ruling in 2010 that essentially prohibited federal financing of PACE programs, Thompson introduced legislation, known as the PACE Assessment Protection Act, in three consecutive Congresses to overturn the FHFA’s ruling and has been a leader in the bipartisan effort to encourage the Administration to find a solution that will allow PACE programs to continue. In August 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it intended to allow FHA-financed properties to use the PACE program if it met certain conditions. In July, the Obama Administration made good on that promise, allowing homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages to participate in PACE programs in order to install energy efficient retrofits to their homes. The letter sent to Director Watt today asks that the FHFA follow suit and allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to fully participate in PACE programs across our country.
The full text of the letter, signed by ## bipartisan Members of Congress, is copied below:
Dear Director Watt:
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is one of the most creative solutions to our nation’s energy needs and allows home owners, the private sector, and local governments the opportunity to work together to meet the economic and environmental needs of our communities. More specifically, PACE allows qualified property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement projects that help reduce energy costs and increase property values while promoting job creation at no cost to taxpayers.
We very much appreciate new guidance issued by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), pursuant to President Barack Obama’s Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative, clarifying that FHA will approve purchase and refinance mortgage applications in states that treat PACE obligations as special assessments. To date, over 400 local governments in California have voted to authorize PACE programs in their communities, and over 70,000 participating homeowners will save 9.1 billion kWh of energy, 3.4 billion gallons of water, and $2.5 billion in utility bills. This guidance will give much needed clarity and encouragement to state and local governments implementing and administering PACE programs.
In light of FHA’s guidance and President Obama’s Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative, we urge you again to carefully consider how you and the Federal Housing Finance Agency can support PACE programs. More specifically, we urge you to consider policy guidance ensuring that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can fully participate in PACE programs across the country.
Should you have any questions regarding this request, please do not hesitate to contact us or Vernon Baker in Rep. Mike Thompson’s office at (202) 225-3311.
Thank you for your time and attention on this important matter.