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WASHINGTON – With thousands of people in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama facing long-term housing needs as a result of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) and House Capital Markets Subcommittee Chairman Richard Baker (R-La.) announced on Sept. 14 they will adjust an affordable housing fund in pending GSE reform legislation to meet residents’ affordable housing needs. The change would mean that affordable housing in areas affected by Katrina would receive priority consideration, including the actual disaster area and areas where survivors are staying. Areas impacted by disasters in the future would receive similar priority consideration. The Federal Housing Financial Reform Act of 2005, H.R. 1461, which includes a provision for creating the affordable housing fund, was already passed by the Financial Services Committee on May 25. The legislation is designed to strengthen the regulation of the housing Government Sponsored Enterprises and create an independent regulator for the GSEs – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

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