President Barack Obama will spotlight his vision for the future of the U.S. Housing system in a speech this afternoon in Phoenix. While few details are available yet it is clear that his plan will focus on minimizing the role of the federal government in housing finance, bringing private capital back into the market in a central role.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said, in an interview on MSNBC this morning that one of the President's goals is to end the role Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac play in the system while making sure that what replaces them continues to provides for a broad range of families to have access to housing. This means providing a means to make purchasing a home both simple and safe, he said.

He stressed that it is important to build a system overall that means "we never have a crisis like we just had. Think about the impact of the trillions of dollars that were lost that could have gone elsewhere in the economy such as providing college educations for children." There is bipartisan agreement on the hill about the types of reforms the President will perform, he said, and "we have to move as quickly as possible."

Donovan said that part of housing reform is immigration reform. Forty percent of immigrants become homeowners and that is important to the health of the system.

Reuters is reporting that President Obama will propose eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over time, replacing them with a system where the private market buys home loans from lenders and packages them for resale to investors. The government role would be restricted to providing oversight and some form of insurance or guarantee. The description provided by Reuters sounds, in essence, like some proposals already under discussion in Congress although not all of those would commit the government to any type of guarantee except for a limited catastrophic backstop through the Federal Housing Administration for loans to a narrowly defined set of buyers.

The White House website is providing no details on the President's speech, scheduled for 3:05 pm. EDT, but did announce that the President will conduct a town hall type of event on Wednesday at 1 pm where he will answer questions submitted by the public. Details on submitting questions for the event are available on the White House website.