The Service to America Awards has selected Patrick Forrest of HUD, as a 2005 finalist for the Call to Service Medal. The Call to Service Medal recognizes outstanding federal employees whose professional achievements reflect the important contributions a new generation brings to public service. Patrick, a 28-year-old Presidential Management Fellow, works in HUD's Office of Departmental Operations and Coordination (ODOC) Southwest Border Region Colonias & Migrant/Farmworker Initiative (SWBR). Patrick has worked to increase the minority home ownership rate by looking at ways to expand existing opportunities to the colonias.
The colonias are unincorporated communities along the U.S. � Mexico border that lack basic infrastructure. Consequently, colonias are among the poorest communities in the country, and do not have many of the daily necessities most Americans take for granted.
Patrick worked tirelessly to increase homeownership opportunities in the colonias. These efforts have included creatively working with the Government National Mortgage Association's (Ginnie Mae / GNMA) Targeted Lending Initiative (TLI).
Under TLI, GNMA increased the supply of affordable housing by reducing fees up to as much as 50 percent for approved lenders who originated or purchased home mortgage loans in colonias. Ginnie Mae's mission to expand affordable housing in America by linking global capital markets to the nation's housing markets had never included the colonias.
However Patrick successfully demonstrated to Ginnie Mae the need, feasibility and benefits of lending to colonias residents. Patrick worked to strengthen HUD's relationships with private lenders located in the Southwest border by encouraging them to take advantage of the TLI program and provide loans to these underserved communities.
"Many people look at colonias residents as individuals who are beyond hope. Patrick Forrest looks at the colonias, and sees an opportunity to help underserved communities who need a hand up," stated Inez Banks-Dubose, Director, ODOC. "He is proving that lenders can do business in the colonias, and that homeownership can be expanded into very low-income communities," she added.
Frank L. Davis, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing, said, "Patrick has shown the resourcefulness and drive to gather people and information to see that housing opportunities for very low-income communities are expanded."
The Service to America Award winners will be announced on September 28, 2005. For additional information on the Service to America Awards please visit: www2.govexec.com/SAM/