On March 30, 2009, with the stroke of a pen, Act 661 became law, and Arkansas joined the ranks of 47 states that have housing trust funds. Arkansas is also a part of another ranking. It is one of seven states with unfunded trust funds. Without funding, Arkansans cannot begin to benefit from the opportunities that implementing the law can bring about. State housing trust funds are, by any measure, the backbone of the housing trust fund world. They demonstrate what is possible, encourage local participation, and build enough momentum to begin having a measurable impact on addressing critical housing needs. You can help in the effort to acquire the necessary funding. (Housing Trust Fund Survey, 2016) Attend one of the educational/training sessions to be held throughout the state. (Information on upcoming events/listening sessions is included below.) Reach out to your legislators. Above all, stay informed. Be a voice for Arkansans as efforts continue to ensure that safe, decent housing is in reach for many of your neighbors, family members and friends.
Housing Arkansas held a series of listening sessions during 2017 that provided an opportunity for all participants to give their ideas and input; to learn about our four core messages; and to join in our efforts to advocate for a dedicated funding source for the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund.
First session: Magnolia (Columbia County), on Thursday, March 31st
Second session: Lake Village (Chicot County), on Thursday, May 12th
Third session: Fort Smith (Sebastian County, Monday, August 22nd
Feedback on local housing need, need for funding resources, and support for the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund was welcomed at each session.
These listening events provided an opportunity for participants to give valuable, local input.
Senator Joyce Elliott sponsored SB 728, which was approved as Act 1518 of 2013, awarding the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund $500,000. These funds have been allocated to the following projects:
Fort Smith Riverview Hope Campus - $250,000 as a component of a $3.5 million budget to provide comprehensive, one-stop services to homeless persons and families.
City of Little Rock - $230,000 as a component of a $475,000 budget to rehabilitate substandard, owner-occupied homes.
Harrison - $20,000 to establish a utility and rental deposit loan fund for homeless persons and families.
The Arkansas General Assembly met in Regular Session in January 2017. Another bill was introduced requesting sustainable, permanent funding from a redistribution of the Real Estate Transfer Tax Fund managed by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC). The bill, HB 2047 was filed by House Sponsor, Representative Laurie Rushing and assigned to the House Insurance and Commerce Committee (Senate co-sponsors: Senator Jake Files and Senator Joyce Elliott). The bill was subsequently submitted as an Interim Study Proposal, ISP 2017-012 to the Insurance and Commerce Committee.
No additional bills were filed during the Regular Session of 2019. The Arkansas General Assembly next meets in Regular Session in January 2021. Your voice and action are needed to support efforts to ensure the Trust Fund receives the necessary funding to help hard-working Arkansans and their families. Be sure to contact us and sign up to receive action alerts by clicking here.