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March 7, 2001
HUD SECRETARY MARTINEZ, U.S. SENATORS HELP BUILD HOMES FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES IN MARYLAND
WASHINGTON - During his first six weeks on the job, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez talked about the nation's housing needs. Today, he finally had a chance to do something about it. Martinez and several U.S. senators joined with Habitat for Humanity and pounded nails and raised walls at a construction site in Maryland where two homes are being built for low-income families.
Martinez said that the construction effort was an example of President Bush's faith-based initiative in action.
"The President has outlined an aggressive faith-based initiative that encourages the private and nonprofit sectors to do what government cannot," Martinez explained.
"What is so remarkable about Habitat for Humanity is it is not just about providing shelter, it is about transforming lives," Martinez added. He also noted his own connection to HHI. "My hometown church in Orlando helps build Habitat for Humanity homes," he said. "I've seen the joy and pride that owning a home brings to families."
HHI is a faith-based ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Every home the organization constructs is sold to a family at no profit with a no-interest loan on terms the family can afford. HHI has built more than 100,000 homes.
HUD will continue to support HHI and similar nonprofit housing groups by fully funding at $20 million the agency's Self Help Home-ownership Program. SHOP provides competitive grants to organizations that use significant amounts of "sweat equity" to produce affordable single-family homes for new home-buyers. HUD is also providing an additional $3 million will be awarded to cover organization's administrative costs.
Other partners in the home-building project included the Council of Federal Home Loan Banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors. In addition, more than 20 building product manufacturers contributed to the effort.
The two houses, which will be completed in June, are for families headed by single mothers, each of whom has three children.