Revitalization of the Federal Housing Administration as a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been advocated by a special task force named earlier this year to study the future of FHA.
In a report to HUD Secretary Patricia Harris, the 23-member task force stressed the need to meet the housing needs for low-and moderate-income families, with FHA continuing to focus on subsidized housing while exploring new methods of raising capital to finance unsubsidized housing.
However, the task force report did not provide any support for a move by the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, several former FHA officials and some other housing leaders) to create an independent FHA. Housing industry leaders had urged President Carter to place more emphasis on FHA mortgage insurance programs and a divestifture of the agency's subisdy housing programs.
The task force, headed by former HUD Secretary Robert C. Weaver, did suggest that FHA can be effective in expanding the availability of mortgage capital by supplying mortgage insurance for those who might otherwise find it difficult to obtain home financing. It also urged that FHA furnish mortgage credit in inner cities through mortgage insurance and by serving as a catalyst and coordinator for private investments.
Also administrative changes were suggested to improve the efficiency and delivery of FHA programs and to set up a direct line of of authority between the Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner and the department's field offices.
It is expected that Harris will use the FHA task force report as part of her testimony, scheduled to begin Oct. 26, before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Meanwhile, that same Senate committee, headed by William Proxmire (D-Wis.), has scheduled hearings on rising prices of lumber and plywood on Oct. 19 and 20.
Proxmire recently told a group representing organized home builders that "these increase have been called shocking and I agree. This is not the time to let runaway lumber prices or unnecessary shortages of materials halt progress in meeting our national housing goals."