The Mark-to-Market program got off to a slow start after Congress passed the "Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act" in 1997. But in the couple of years that the program has been operating, it has helped put hundreds of housing projects on a more sound financial footing.
It's my understanding that the program has already saved taxpayers $450 million by helping housing projects restructure their debts and reduce their costs so that the government could in turn reduce the cost of Section 8 vouchers without causing hardship to low-income tenants. Nearly 600 hundred projects have already undergone some type of restructuring under the Mark-to-Market program and the program appears to be achieving its goals.
When the program started there were about 8,500 projects that were eligible for restructuring. Those projects had more than 800,000 housing units - that's 800,000 places that people call home. And the Mark-to-Market program can help focus resources where they should be focused on maintaining those units, rather than simply servicing debt. The program has worked well for some, but it could be working well for many others.
In my opinion, OMHAR and the Mark-to-Market program have gotten off to a good start and it's my hope that the witnesses will provide some insights to explain how we can ensure that the full benefits of the program can be realized.