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(Updated August 2014)

Housing trust funds are distinct funds, usually established by state or local governments, that receive ongoing public revenues which can only be spent on affordable housing initiatives, including new construction, preservation of existing housing, emergency repairs, homeless shelters, housing-related services, and multifamily building for nonprofit organizations. Over 650 housing trust funds in cities, counties and states generate nearly $1 billion a year to support critical housing needs, underscoring the integral role these funds play in the world of affordable housing.

On this page you'll find more information on the housing trust fund concept, case studies, how REALTORS® can establish and promote trust funds in their communities, the National Housing Trust Fund, and more. (D. Shumaker, Senior Library Information Specialist)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Housing Trust Funds: The Basics

History Lessons for Today’s Housing Policy: The political processes of making low-income housing policy, (JCHS/Harvard, 2012). Examines the political processes that led to the adoption of new housing policies. They identify the conditions, political alignments, and ideologies that prevailed in each period and trace the actors and strategies that led to the ultimate adoption of new policies.

Housing Trust Funds; Overview, (HousingPolicy.org, 2010)—Background, case studies, revenue sources and where dollars are used.

What are housing trust funds?, (Center for Community Change)—Features a history of housing trust funds and listing of funds around the U.S. The website is a significant source of information on HTFs, as well as providing technical assistance and advocacy for the creation and ongoing funding of state and local housing trust funds.

Housing Trust Funds, (PolicyLink)—Includes info on how and why to use housing trust funds, success stories, challenges, policy options, and a list of resources.

Guidelines & Case Stud​ies

HousingPolicy.org—Collects and provides examples of proven solutions for expanding the availability of homes for working families and others. The site includes information on a broad range of state and local policy tools, as well as guidance on how to put them together to form a comprehensive and effective housing strategy.

Winning a public vote for a state or local housing trust fund or bond—Case studies, (The Campaign for Affordable Housing, c. 2004).

Florida's housing trust fund—addressing the state's affordable housing needs, (Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Spring 2004).

Partnerships for opportunity: Four organizations that can help you create housing opportunity in your community, (REALTOR® Association Executive, Winter 2003). 

Models of governance for housing trust funds, (Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, Mar. 2000).

A Workbook for Creating a Housing Trust Fund, (Center for Community Change, July 1999).

A National Housing Trust Fund

Fannie Mae Overseer Urged to Grab Revenue for Cheap Housing, (National Mortgage News, Mar. 3, 2014). Q

The National Housing Trust Fund, (National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2014).

An Introduction to the National Housing Trust Fund, (Journal of Housing & Community Development, Nov./Dec. 2010). Q

Housing Trust Fund—The National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing Federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families.

Other Organizations & Websites

Center for Community Change—Founded in 1968 to honor the life and values of Robert F. Kennedy, the Center is one of the longest-standing champions for low-income people and communities of color.

Housing Trust Fund Project News—Quarterly newsletter from the Center for Community Change.

National Council of State Housing Agencies—Established more than 30 years ago by the nation's state Housing Finance Agencies as a nonprofit organization to coordinate and leverage their federal advocacy efforts for affordable housing.

National Housing Conference—Since 1931, the nonprofit National Housing Conference (NHC) has been dedicated to helping ensure safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America.

National Low Income Housing Coalition—Established in 1974, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

Books & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Distance education: agency, ethics, fair housing, trust funds, (Executive Career College, 1999). HD 1375 Ex3

State and local affordable housing programs: A rich tapestry, (Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute, 1999). HD 7293 Ur1st

A status report on housing trust funds in the United States, (Frazier Park, CA: Center for Community Change, 1997). HD 7293 C33s

A guide to housing trust funds: Tools for community development, (Washington, DC: Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, 1989). HD 7293 N31

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Establishing a Charitable Foundation

Field Guide to Social Benefits of Homeownership

Field Guide to the Effects of Low Income Housing on Surrounding Property Values

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.