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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 02-073
(202) 708-0685
For Release
June 27, 2002

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 partners.

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

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