Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z 

HUD Archives: News Releases

Further Information:Wednesday
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD officeJune 26, 1996


WASHINGTON -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development and a coalition of 32 groups today launched a drive to increase the number of women homeowners.

While 64.7 percent of all households owned homes is 1995, only 49.5 percent of households headed by women were homeowners last year. Female-headed households with families had an even lower homeownership rate of 45.1 percent, and households headed by women under 35 with families had a homeownership rate of only 19.2 percent.

"We will knock down the barriers to homeownership by women," HUD Secretary Henry G. Cisneros said. He said HUD will work in partnership with a coalition of citizen groups it helped create called Homeownership Opportunities for Women (HOW) to:

  • Expand an existing toll-free telephone line to provide free information packets about homeownership opportunities for women. The number is: 1-800-CALLFHA.

  • Create targeted education and counseling programs for potential women homebuyers around the country. HUD will provide $250,000 in start-up money for the program this year.

  • Produce public service advertising, booklets and videos targeted at potential women homebuyers.

  • Host a working roundtable on women's homeownership later this year to be attended by lenders, real estate professionals, other housing industry representatives, women's advocates and government officials to begin a cooperative effort to increase the number of women homeowners.

  • Work with lenders to determine if computerized underwriting models can be developed that are sensitive to special circumstances faced by women.

  • Hold seven Regional Homeownership Summits this summer, each with a session focusing on women's homeownership. The summits will be held in Denver, CO; Portland, OR; Pittsburgh, PA; Kansas City, MO; Oakland, CA; Lansing, MI; and Miami, FL.

  • Distribute information about women's homeownership at dozens of free homebuying fairs being held around the nation this summer.

  • Track the women's homeownership rate on a quarterly, rather than solely an annual, basis for the first time.

The new initiatives will be based on successful programs that take non-traditional approaches, reaching out to women and tailoring information to women's needs, Cisneros said.

Programs supported by the new initiative will give women information about budgeting, credit, flexible downpayment programs, programs that assist first-time homebuyers, home maintenance and other homeownership issues.

"Households headed by women face special difficulties in qualifying for mortgages and becoming homeowners," Cisneros said. "We will help women to overcome these obstacles. We're going to replace the outdated saying that 'a woman's place is in the home' with a much better one: 'a woman's place is in homeownership'."

Cisneros said both HUD and HOW are committed to dramatically increasing the rate of homeownership by female-headed households.

"President Clinton has committed the nation to achieving a record overall homeownership rate of 67.5 percent in the year 2000 -- up from the 15-year high 65.1 percent reached at the beginning of this year," Cisneros said. "Achieving a new record requires that we expand homeownership opportunities to all Americans, rega rdless of sex, race, or ethnicity."

"Increasing homeownership across the board will improve life in communities across the nation," said Roxanne Qualls, Mayor of Cincinnati, who has played a leading role in homeownership programs in her community.

"Homeowners bring stability to neighborhoods," Qualls said. "They're involved in schools and the community. Their children tend to achieve more. Homeownership helps families increase their net worth and brings more people into the middle class."

Jo Ann Kane, President of the McAuley Institute, a group that studies women's housing issues and supports housing development for low-income women, said women need assistance in overcoming special difficulties they face in homeownership.

"Households headed by women aren't considered as creditworthy as others by some mortgage lenders," Kane said. "The lending system was created based on earning patterns of men, and often fails to value female earning patterns equally."

"Lenders sometimes refuse to count alimony and child support payments that divorced women receive as part of their income," Kane said. "Lenders sometimes also refuse to give equal weight to earnings from part-time jobs, more commonly held by women. This comes on top of the traditional belief that men are more stable wage earners and that women have a poorer understanding of financial matters. It all works against women homebuyers."

Dr. Sarah E. Moten, Special Assistant to the President of the National Council of Negro Women, said the new effort to help women become homeowners "is an important step in making the American Dream of Homeownership a reality for everyone."

"For too long, gender and race have played a large role in determining who becomes a homeowner," Moten said. "I applaud HUD for extending opportunity to those locked out of homeownership."

President Clinton's commitment to increased homeownership by all Americans was spelled out in the National Homeownership Strategy issued one year ago. The strategy helped bring the nation's homeownership rate to a 15-year high this year.

Since 1993, the number of American homeowners has increased by more than 3 million. The goal of the National Homeownership Strategy is to increase the number of homeowners by 8 million by the year 2000.

Fifty-eight national organizations representing lenders, real estate professionals, home builders, non-profit groups and federal, state and local governments have joined forces to form the National Partnership in Homeownership to make the goal of increased homeownership a reality. HOW is the newest group to join the National Partnership.


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

FOIA Privacy Web Policies and Important Links [logo: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity]
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112 TTY: (202) 708-1455