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HUD No. 96-139FOR RELEASE
Further Information:Tuesday
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 13, 1996

HUD ANNOUNCES INITIATIVES DESIGNED TO BOOST AFRICAN-AMERICAN HOMEOWNERSHIP RATE

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a new partnership with the Congress of National Black Churches that is designed to increase the rate of homeownership among African Americans through homebuyer education classes and counseling programs at black churches around the country.

The two other initiatives included the renewal of a voluntary affirmative marketing agreement between HUD and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers that increases homeownership opportunities for traditionally underserved communities; and Democratizing Data, a new on-line service that makes Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data on mortgage lending patterns widely accessible to lenders, community groups and others on the Internet's World Wide Web.

Under the new partnership, called HOME-NOW, hundreds of black churches will host education sessions on the homebuying process, and offer homebuyer counseling and other programs specifically tailored to meet the needs of first-time African- American homebuyers.

More African Americans than ever before have become homeowners in recent years, but the gap between the black homeownership rate and the rate for whites remains significant. The latest data show that the homeownership rate among white households is 70 percent nationwide, while only 43 percent of African American-headed households own their homes.

"We've come a long way, but our challenge is to reduce even further the gap between minority homeownership and the homeownership rate for the rest of America," Cisneros said. "Several efforts are currently underway. These include our success in cutting the cost of FHA-backed loans, holding down interest rates, creating public-private partnerships, and now this new effort between HUD and the Congress of National Black Churches.

"Churches have long played an active role in the development and cohesiveness of the black community. They have remained the constant in a sea of change. And it is because of this that I can think of no better conduit through which HUD can make the dream of homeownership a reality for more African Americans."

HOME-NOW homebuyer education classes and counseling sessions will be taught by HUD field staff persons who are experts in underwriting, real estate, and marketing. Classes will consist of a 20-hour block of instruction, after which attendees will earn a certificate of training that qualifies them for a $200 discount in the up-front FHA premium. This reduces closing costs, making it easier for families to purchase homes.

FHA and Ginnie Mae, both entities within HUD, also will play significant roles in support of HOME-NOW. All instructional material will be prepared by FHA, and Ginnie Mae will encourage more lending institutions to become Federal Housing Administration-approved lenders and active supporters of HOME- NOW.

"This new partnership will make a difference," Cisneros said. "Together we can ensure that the hope of owning a house does not remain a dream deferred for African American families."

 

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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