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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 97-135
Further Information:For Release
In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-1420Tuesday
Or contact your local HUD officeAugust 5, 1997


WASHINGTON - The Clinton Administration is committed to fighting illegal housing discrimination and to giving more minorities opportunities to become homeowners, Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo told the National Urban League Annual Conference today. At the same time, he signed an agreement to work with the Urban League to further those goals.

Cuomo spoke a day after banking regulators issued a report that found that conventional and government-backed home mortgages to all racial and ethnic groups rose in 1996.

However, the report found that blacks, Hispanics and American Indians were still more likely than whites and Asians to be turned down for conventional home mortgages.

The report said in 1996 lenders turned down 48.8 percent of applications for conventional home mortgages by African Americans, compared with only 24.1 percent for whites. The denial rates were 34.4 percent for Hispanics, 13.8 percent for Asians, and 50.2 percent for American Indians.

Still, the disparity in mortgage denial rates for blacks and whites has narrowed since 1990. In that year, blacks were 2.4 times as likely as whites to have their application denied. Today, blacks are 2 times as likely to have their mortgage applications denied.

"We are proud that minority homeownership is rising and that more Americans of all races are applying and qualifying for home mortgages," Cuomo said. "But more must be done to stop discrimination in its tracks. We will double the number of fair housing complaints we investigate and we will be diligent in our enforcement of laws and regulations to ensure that the American Dream of homeownership is open to all hard-working Americans."

Cuomo said a top goal of HUD will be to reduce the homeownership gap between whites and minorities. While the white homeownership rate stood at 72.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, the homeownership rate was 44.9 percent for blacks and 43.3 percent for Hispanics.

To advance HUD's efforts, Cuomo said the Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide technical assistance valued at up to $1 million to the National Urban League and its 114 affiliates over two years.

The HUD assistance will help the group increase minority homeownership, create more affordable housing, combat housing discrimination, create jobs and take other actions to revitalize inner city neighborhoods, Cuomo said.

Cuomo signed a memorandum of understanding with Urban League President Hugh Price to provide the technical assistance.

Under the agreement, HUD will work with local Urban League affiliates to identify ways to wipe out housing discrimination. All cases of housing discrimination discovered by Urban League affiliates will be referred to the Department for immediate investigation.

Cuomo said the assistance will help the National Urban League and its affiliates better utilize available HUD resources and programs, such as the Department's Community Development Block Grant Program.

"The Urban League is a powerful force for good, and has an extraordinary record of achievement," Cuomo said. "By working in partnership with this group, HUD can create new housing opportunities and new jobs, and bring new life to urban neighborhoods."

"We're extremely excited about the creation of this partnership with HUD," Price said. "This agreement will enable us to do even more to serve the needs of communities that are undergoing tremendous change and becoming ever more diverse."

Despite the disappointing news about the high mortgage denial rate for minorities, the data revealed a number of encouraging trends, Cuomo said. For example:

  • In 1996, the number of blacks owning their own homes exceeded 5 million for the first time.

  • There has been substantial growth in total mortgage lending activity since 1993. The fastest growth in mortgage lending has occurred for minorities: 56 percent for Hispanics, 53 percent for blacks, 27 percent for Native Americans, 15 percent for Asians and 14 percent for whites.

  • While the number of conventional loans to blacks decreased by 1.5 percent between 1995 and 1996, this decline was more than offset by an increase in government-backed loans.

Today the overall homeownership rate in the United States is 65.7 percent -- the highest overall quarterly homeownership rate in 17 years. There are more than 5 million more homeowners since the start of 1993.

Under the agreement between HUD and the Urban League, Neighborhood Network Centers will be established in Baltimore, Washington, and Kansas City, MO. The Neighborhoods Network program, created in September 1995, is a HUD initiative that uses computer technology to help residents of HUD-insured and assisted housing developments get training to qualify for jobs. Currently there are more than 220 Neighborhood Networks centers operating.

Another goal of HUD's assistance to the Urban League will be to help people move from welfare to work. Activities that could be assisted include job training, child care and transportation to jobs.

The agreement also calls for HUD to help Urban League affiliates fully engage in the JOBS Plus Demonstration Program, an effort that uses existing local structures to strengthen the ability of communities to support and promote activities leading to the creation of new jobs.

In addition, the agreement calls for HUD to assist Urban League affiliates in working with local housing authorities to develop job training courses for low-income residents and contracting opportunities for businesses that are owned by or employ public housing residents.


Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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