A first-ever report card scoring House of Representative members' performance on housing issues in the 1980s ranked Virginia's delegation as one of the worst in the nation and Maryland's among the best.

Spokesmen for the National Housing Institute, the nonprofit housing advocacy organization that conducted the study, said it was done in an effort to raise awareness of how politicians are voting on housing issues and to influence elections around the country.

The study found noticeable differences in the voting records of the House members who represent the metropolitan Washington area, which has a much-discussed housing affordability problem.

Surveys conducted by the National Association of Realtors have found the region is one of the most expensive areas in the country in which to buy a home and its rents also rank among the nation's highest.

Reps. Stan Parris and Frank Wolf, both Republicans from Northern Virginia, shared failing grades for their housing votes, in the view of the housing group.

Parris received a 21 percent favorable rating based on his votes -- only one point shy of making him a member of what the study's authors called the Homeless Hall of Shame. Wolf's votes were deemed pro-housing 40 percent of the time.

Maryland's eight-member House delegation tied with Michigan for 10th place out of the 50 states, although its average grade was only a C-plus. Its ranking included higher scores earned by the suburban Maryland representatives, with Republican Constance Morella earning 92 percent rating and Democrat Tom McMillen scoring 83.

The highest local score went to Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer, who earned a 100 percent rating, or an A-plus, from the institute.

The survey ranked the 10-member Virginia delegation 42nd.

"We salute those who gained 100 percent, and we can only wish for those below 50 percent a speedy retirement from politics," said the NHI report. "For those with 20 percent or less, NHI awards these scrooges a place in its first annual Homeless Hall of Shame."

The survey tracked all congressional roll call votes and amendments in both houses of Congress, and included only those votes that were exclusively on housing issues, not items tied to non-housing legislation. It then focused on 20 specific bills or amendments undertaken in the House, because there were not enough housing votes in the Senate to warrant a report card, according to the study's authors.

The 20 specific items included:

Votes on funding housing and community development grants.

Housing-related provisions of the savings and loan cleanup bill.

Funding for low-income housing and for the homeless.

A bill prohibiting the demolition of 2,600 units of subsidized housing in Texas.

Bills funding construction of low- and moderate-income housing.

Fair housing legislation designed to prohibit landlords from banning children and the handicapped as tenants in their properties.

The states with the best voting record on housing issues, according to the group's ranking, were Massachusetts and South Dakota, while Utah and New Hampshire ranked lowest.

The survey's authors hope their report card will be used to "provide ammunition to fight the enemies of affordable housing," said Patrick Morrissy of the Brolio Housing Partnership, a speaker at the conference, and spur those he called "congressional underachievers" to "mend their ways."

The group cited numerous studies that showed the number of homeless people continues to increase.

The group also said studies showed that growing numbers of renters and homeowners are paying more than half their income for housing and rents and that home prices have skyrocketed, making it harder for average American families to find shelter. During the 1980s, as these needs grew, funding for federal housing programs was slashed by 80 percent, they said.

At the same time, they said, programs originally intended to help house Americans, such as the savings and loan mortgage-lending system and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, became instead piggy banks for the politically well-connected.

"Congress and the president are out of touch with the American people and too influenced by special interests, not the broad interests of the American people," said John Atlas, NHI president. "The issues {of low- and middle-income people} are not even on the agenda."