HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 03-001
Alan Gelfand
(973) 622-7900 ext. 3105
For Release
January 22, 2003

Budget proposal would provide New Jersey communities $53.5 million

NEWARK, NJ - As part of President Bush's ongoing effort to increase affordable housing and minority homeownership
in New Jersey, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced a proposed increase of nearly $2.3 million for the Department's HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The announcement is part of the Bush Administration's fiscal year 2004 budget request of Congress, a five-percent boost over current funding that would provide New Jersey communities with $53,529,000 in funding.

Martinez also announced the President's spending plan will seek another $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Fund to help an additional 40,000 lower income families nationwide to become first-time homeowners.

"This Administration is deeply committed to providing New Jersey communities with the resources they need to produce affordable housing and help individuals and families become homeowners," said Martinez. "We want to empower first-time homebuyers, particularly minorities and low-income families, to cross the threshold into the American Dream. We also want to make sure that affordable rental opportunities exist in neighborhoods across New Jersey."

Martinez further announced that the 2004 proposed budget will emphasize breaking down regulatory barriers that impede the production of affordable housing. HUD will create a new Office of Regulatory Reform, which will commit
an additional $2 million next year on research efforts to learn more about the nature and extent of these regulatory obstacles. Through this office, researchers will develop the tools needed to measure and ultimately reduce the
effects of excessive barriers that restrict the development of affordable housing at the local level.

The flexible HOME Program has played an integral role in addressing the shortages of affordable housing in
communities nationwide. Participating jurisdictions are encouraged to partner and leverage resources with nonprofits, developers, private lenders and contractors. These partnerships have resulted in more than 750,000 affordable housing units being constructed, rehabilitated or acquired. In addition, an estimated 88,000 families have received
the assistance they need to find safe, decent and affordable homes to rent.

For the second consecutive year, the President's spending plan will include $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Fund to help approximately 40,000 low- to moderate-income families to become first time
homeowners. This funding is an important part of the Administration's goal to add 5.5 million new minority
homeowners by the end of the decade. A recent HUD study found that the down payment is the single greatest barrier minority families face when trying to buy their first home.

Earlier this week, Secretary Martinez announced a proposal to increase HUD's Housing Counseling Grant Program to $45 million, which will help 250,000 additional individuals and families to find and maintain homes. Housing counseling
is one of the most cost-effective ways to educate homebuyers on matters such as inflated appraisals, interest
rates and the mortgage settlement process, and is a fundamental part of HUD's efforts to combat predatory lending.

The combined effect of these multiple funding increases will be to significantly bolster the Bush Administration's
efforts to bridge the nation's "homeownership gap." Census figures indicate that while nearly three-fourths of non-Hispanic whites own their own homes, less than half of African-American and Hispanic families are homeowners. In
last year's State of the Union address, President Bush announced a goal to add 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade.

President Bush also announced "America's Homeownership Challenge," calling on the housing industry to help increase minority homeownership. The result was the Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership, a collaborative effort to advance the President's goal. This unprecedented public-private partnership is helping to educate homebuyers, increase the supply of affordable housing, offer down-payment assistance and provide flexible financing options that help people realize the American Dream.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as
enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.


Content Archived: July 11, 2011