Some of the housing industry's best-known figures have joined forces to form Homes for Working Families, a new group that will research housing issues and educate lawmakers on the need for more affordable housing.

The board for Homes for Working Families is headed up by Angelo Mozilo, chairman of Countrywide Financial Corp. Other prominent board members include former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros; Daniel Mudd, president and CEO of Fannie Mae; James Pugash, chairman of Hearthstone; and David Hill, president of Kimball Hill Homes.

“Unfortunately, the red-hot appreciation of housing prices in many markets has moved the dream of homeownership beyond the reach of many low- and moderate-income households,” says Beverly Barnes, the group's executive director.

A study by the National Housing Conference finds that the vast majority of the nation's elementary school teachers, police officers, licensed practical nurses, retail salespersons, and janitors cannot qualify to purchase a median-priced home in most American cities.

Barnes says over the first six months of 2006, Homes for Working Families will initiate new academic research projects. The group, which raised $7 million to get some initial research projects off the ground, hopes to raise $50 million over the next several years to support its ongoing research efforts.

The group's first report, “Solving America's Shortage of Homes Working Families Can Afford,” was released last month. The report highlights four successful programs from around the country, including Montgomery County, Md.'s noted Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit program, as well as 11 successful development projects. Some of the projects described include First Ward Place, Charlotte, N.C.; Casa del Maestro, Santa Clara, Calif.; and Cabrini-Green Homes, Chicago.

E-mail to request a PDF copy of the report.