Members of Congress and community activists urged the federal government Thursday to establish a $5 billion national housing trust fund for affordable housing projects.

Officials from the Center for Community Change, along with Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and Rep. Bernie Sanders, Ind.-Vt., argued during a press conference at the Capitol that such a fund would generate a surge in employment and wages.

"A national fund is the best response to the disappearing federal dollars and increasing nationwide need for affordable housing," said Andrew Mott, the center's executive director, in a press statement. "It will also provide the entire economy with a shot in the arm, one that is particularly needed in the current economic climate."

Both Sen. Wellstone and Rep. Sanders are sponsoring bills that would use surplus money from the Ginnie Mae Fund and the Federal Housing Administration's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund to create the trust fund.

According to a study conducted by the center, titled "Home Sweet Home: Why America needs a National Housing Trust Fund," a $5 billion National Housing Trust Fund would directly generate over 184,000 construction jobs with approximately nearly $5 billion of wages. This would lead to the creation of another 1.6 million jobs paying over $44 billion, the study argued.

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