The HUD "Homeownership Express" hits the road to kick
off the second annual celebration of National Homeownership Month!
Over the next 27 days, the bus will travel 8,500 miles and make
stops in cities from coast to coast as it brings HUD's message of
empowering families through homeownership directly into America's
The Homeownership Express is a joint project of HUD and its many
partners in the Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership. Secretary
Martinez created the Blueprint Partnership last year after President
Bush challenged HUD and the housing industry to work together to
create 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade.
Each stop of the trip will highlight a local homeownership effort
that, with the help of HUD and its partners, is successfully moving
families into homes of their own. Today's kickoff event in Washington
focused on Habitat for Humanity, a HUD partner since 1996. Using
funding it receives through HUD's Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity
Program - and "sweat equity" contributed by families who
help to build the homes in which they'll be living - Habitat has
guided 30,000 families in the U.S. into homeownership.
Joining Secretary Martinez at today's send-off were HUD's Assistant
Secretaries, Habitat for Humanity International founder and President
Millard Fuller, congressional supporters, and Blueprint Partnership
representatives. But the biggest applause went to Mary Collins,
Marlene Hunter, Penny Williams, Helena Spencer, and their families.
Thanks to their own determination, the support of Habitat, and worksite
muscle provided by Members of Congress and their staffs, these four
families have realized their own "American Dream" of homeownership.
Secretary Martinez emphasized today that homeownership will continue
to be a HUD priority because its benefits are so profound. "Homeownership
is about more than just finding shelter," he said. "When
we empower a family through homeownership, they have new opportunities
to build a better quality of life."
Tomorrow: The Homeownership Express visits Pennsylvania.