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HUD No. 02-015
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January 25, 2002

Martinez Announces Administration Plan to Triple Funding of "Sweat Equity" Housing Program

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today announced President Bush's proposed budget will nearly triple funding of "sweat equity programs" which help low-income families become first time homeowners. Martinez made the announcement today in Jacksonville, Florida in a speech to a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity International.

Under the Administration's proposed Fiscal Year 2003 budget, funding for HUD's Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) will increase from $22 million to $65 million and will dramatically expand opportunities for sweat equity programs that allow low-income families to contribute their own time and labor toward the construction of their future home.

"President Bush and I firmly believe that opening the door to homeownership to low-income families is the best way to capture the spirit of the American dream," said Martinez. "By tripling the funding to this program, thousands more families will be able to realize this dream and join the historic ranks of homeowners across the country."

Today's announcement makes good on last year's commitment by the President during a commencement address to graduates at Notre Dame University to increase funding to sweat equity programs. Since taking office, President Bush and Martinez have teamed up to help build Habitat homes in Waco, Texas and Tampa, Florida. In addition, Martinez is renovating The House the Secretary Built for a single mother and her family in Washington, DC.

Martinez also stressed the importance of expanding funding opportunities to faith- and community-based organizations with a focus on results to increase affordable housing to lower-income Americans.

SHOP grants are used to purchase land and make infrastructure improvements, primarily to build new homes. By contributing time and elbow grease, families join volunteers and contractors to construct or rehabilitate their homes

HUD's SHOP grants are competitively awarded based upon an organization's experience in managing a sweat-equity program. Other factors include identifying their community's needs, generating other sources of funding and the soundness of their program design.

In Jacksonville, Martinez toured a housing development built by HabiJax, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the Jacksonville Housing Authority and the local chapter of the National Homebuilders Association. The development combines 85 Habitat homes with 67 units built by the Jacksonville Housing Authority.



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