HUD Archives: News Releases
HUD No. 02-073
June 27, 2002
MARTINEZ DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT LULAC CONVENTION
Discusses Bush Administration's Plan To Boost Minority Homeownership
HOUSTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez told more than
800 attendees at the 73rd annual League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
National Convention and Exposition that the Bush Administration is committed
to bridging the homeownership gap between Anglo-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.
Delivering the keynote address at the Unity Luncheon, the Cuban-born Martinez
spoke about his experience as a Hispanic American and about the value of homeownership
to Hispanic communities. He also reaffirmed President Bush's goal to increase
the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million by the year 2010, and discussed
the Administration's initiatives to narrow the nation's still-sizeable homeownership
gap between non-Hispanic whites and minorities.
"As an immigrant American born in Cuba, I know that the American Dream
of homeownership is a powerful concept that Americans embrace," Martinez
said. "Together with President Bush, I am committed to expanding homeownership
among minorities because it strengthens families and communities."
Martinez's speech echoed a primary theme of the Unity Luncheon - that in order
to bring about effective change for the nation's 35 million Hispanics, grass-roots
organizations, the corporate sector and the government must work together as
Martinez highlighted "America's Homeownership Challenge," President
Bush's call to the real estate and mortgage-finance industries to join in the
Administration's effort to increase minority homeownership by taking concrete
steps to tear down barriers that face minority families. The President issued
the challenge last week in Atlanta.
Martinez further stressed the theme of unity by discussing HUD's commitment
to helping local groups, including faith-based organizations, solve the unique
homeownership challenges in their areas. Earlier this week, HUD released Ten
Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership, a brochure
that offers faith-based grassroots organizations an easy-to-read guide to promoting
homeownership in their communities.
"It's very important that we tap into the tremendous resources of the
faith community as we seek to bring the American Dream to more families,"
Martinez said. "With grassroots organizations, the private sector and the
government all working together, I am confident that we will meet the President's
goal of 5.5 million new minority homeowners."
Last week, HUD released a report entitled Barriers to Minority Homeownership
that identified the many obstacles faced by minority families, including high
down payment and closing costs, limited supply of affordable housing and a confusing
homebuying process. These factors have combined to produce a gap in which non-Hispanic
whites enjoy a record 68 percent homeownership rate, compared to only 48 percent
for African-Americans and 47.6 percent for Hispanics.
In his speech, Martinez discussed the Bush Administration's initiatives designed
to break down those barriers. These include: 1) the American Dream Downpayment
Fund, aimed at helping 40,000 families each year with down payment cost; 2)
a single-family tax credit, designed to increase the supply of affordable homes;
and 3) a housing counseling program to help families through the homebuying
process and to educate them against unscrupulous lenders.
Yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Martinez unveiled
HUD's Homebuyer Bill of Rights and announced steps to make buying a home less
complicated and less expensive. The proposal is to ensure that consumers know
up front exactly how much their home loan is going to cost and how much is needed
at the time of settlement. This reform will enable more Americans to become
homeowners by reducing the closing costs.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership,
particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for
low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities
and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community
development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information
about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010