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August 8, 2001
BUSH AND MARTINEZ HAMMER HOME FAITH-BASED MESSAGE IN WACOen español
WACO, Texas - Each month, Gladys Evans struggles to make ends meet, spending more than half her monthly income on the home she rents. Evans will soon become a homeowner thanks in part to President Bush and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez who today helped build the house she and her family will eventually call home.
The project is part of Habitat for Humanity's effort to provide homeownership opportunities to families like the Evan's. Bush and Martinez also drew attention to the power of faith-based and community organizations, like Habitat, in expanding minority homeownership.
HUD recently reported a record 48.8 percent of minority families are homeowners. The national homeownership rate also matched the historic high of 67.7 percent - more than 72 million families and individuals currently own their own home.
"This is an example of what the President means when he talks about rallying the armies of compassion," said Martinez. "The partnership between government and a faith-based organization made a difference in the life of Gladys Evans and her family today. It can make a positive difference in the lives of other Americans as well."
"I am so excited, this is my dream come true," said Evans "This is an opportunity for me and my family to grow in this community. It just means the world to us to own our own home."
To boost homeownership opportunities for minority families, President Bush is proposing to triple funding to faith-based and self-help programs like Habitat for Humanity. HUD funding of such programs would increase from approximately $22 million to more than $66 million. In addition, HUD's funding helps cities like Waco to pay for the infrastructure improvements needed to support the homebuilding activities of organizations like Habitat.
Evans, a Waco native, and her two teenage children, Destini and Edwinn, worked side-by-side with Bush and Martinez during today's Habitat event.
Bush and Martinez also visited with Otis and Thresa Gowan and heard their personal success story as Habitat homeowners. The Gowans helped build their own home in 1990 and have faithfully met their mortgage payments ever since.
HUD is the Bush Administration's lead agency in reaching out to faith-based and community organizations across the country as they work to build homeownership opportunities. Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization, has built more than 75,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 350,000 people worldwide. Habitat is an example of faith in action.
Martinez said, "The President and I strongly support the work of organizations like Habitat for Humanity that are helping to instill in Americans something that government alone cannot - a sense of hope and a sense of pride."
In addition, President Bush's proposed budget includes several important initiatives to further increase homeownership for all Americans:
- American Dream Downpayment Fund. The fund will provide $200 million with HUD's HOME Investment Partnership program to match downpayment assistance and help more than 130,000 low-income families overcome their greatest obstacle to purchasing their first home.
- Renewing the Dream Tax Credit. To further promote homeownership opportunities, Bush is proposing $1.7 billion tax credit to support the rehabilitation or new construction of an estimated 100,000 homes for purchase by low-income households over a five-year period.
- Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgages. HUD is seeking authority to allow FHA to offer low-income families a hybrid adjustable rate mortgage, reducing families' initial homeownership costs by combining a low fixed rate in the early years with a rate that later adjusts with the market.
Martinez recently proposed a new downpayment assistance plan as part of HUD's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that would permit local housing officials to provide families with up to one-year's worth of vouchers to be used toward the downpayment on a home. In addition, current HUD regulations allow local housing agencies to use vouchers to defray a family's monthly mortgage expenses.
"This Administration is committed to offering more alternatives to families who want to move toward owning a stake in their own neighborhoods," said Martinez.