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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 02-076
Sonia Colin, (202) 708-0685
For Release
July 23, 2002

Holds Bilingual Town Hall Meeting with La Raza in Miami

MIAMI - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez discussed today the Bush Administration's initiatives aimed at helping more low-income, minority families achieve the American dream of homeownership.

Martinez spoke at a bilingual town hall meeting organized by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Martinez told prospective homebuyers and housing industry representatives that President Bush's fiscal 2003 budget request for HUD included programs to help overcome the most common barriers encountered by minority families seeking to purchase their first home, such as downpayment assistance and high closing costs.

Martinez spoke at the town hall meeting, organized as part of NCLR's annual conference. Cristina Saralegui, host of her own program on the Univision network, joined Martinez for the forum.

"Owning a home is the cornerstone of the American Dream and the American Dream should be more than just a dream for America's minorities," Martinez said. "President Bush set an ambitious goal to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million by the year 2010. The Bush Administration remains committed to raising the minority homeownership rate because homeownership strengthens families and communities, and is critical to the country's economic health."

Homeownership among Hispanics nationally stands at 47.3 percent and at 47.7 percent for African-Americans, compared to 74.3 percent for the white, non-Hispanic, population.

To bridge the homeownership gap and achieve the President's goal for minority families, Martinez cited several Bush Administration initiatives, including 1) the American Dream Downpayment Fund, aimed at helping 40,000 families each year with down payment cost, the most common barrier to minority homeownership; 2) a tax credit for builders of single-family homes; 3) a housing counseling program to help families through the home buying process and to educate them against unscrupulous lenders. Information regarding homeownership initiatives and helpful tips about owning a home can be found on HUD's Homeownership page.

In addition, Martinez recently unveiled HUD's Homebuyer Bill of Rights and announced steps to make buying a home less complicated and less expensive. The proposal is designed 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 ultimately reducing the closing costs.

Martinez also noted that HUD has released and translated into Spanish a "how-to guide" to help faith-based organizations to encourage homeownership opportunities, particularly among minority families. Ten Things Your Faith Community Can Do To Encourage Homeownership offers faith-based grassroots organizations an easy-to-read guide to promoting homeownership in their communities.

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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