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MARTINEZ AND MULÁS ANNOUNCE BINATIONAL COORDINATION TO IMPROVE HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES
MERIDA, Mexico - U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Mel Martinez and Mexican Housing Development Commissioner Alberto Mulás Alonso signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) today that formalized the neighboring countries' mutual commitment to improve housing, urban and social development conditions for their respective citizens.
"The Bush Administration is committed to working in partnership with our Mexican neighbors to share information on ways to improve housing and urban conditions in both countries," said Martinez, who earlier joined Mulás in touring parts of the Yucatán Peninsula affected by Hurricane Isidore. "I am proud to join Commissioner Mulás here today to sign this Memorandum of Cooperation."
The MOC specifies that "activities initiated under this Memorandum of Cooperation would be conducted on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual benefit." Examples of the benefits of the MOC include a bilingual dictionary of housing and urban development terms - to be released in the spring of 2003 - that will help facilitate communication on a variety of cooperative efforts by both governmental and non-governmental organizations; a proposed bilateral study that will identify the conditions for the development and operation of a financial literacy training program in order to increase the number of immigrants who access the banking system, build a credit history and thus obtain access to homeownership; and a proposed symposium on housing finance.
Martinez and Mulás also highlighted a technical cooperation agreement between HUD, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Census, the Mexican Secretariat of Social Development (SEDESOL), and the Mexican National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI). This agreement facilitates an exchange of information to assist projects relating to cross-border urban planning and colonias management.
The agreement demonstrates the use of affordable Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, also known as computer mapping, to improve housing and community development programs along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border region. The participating agencies also will work closely with state and local communities in both countries to manage cross-border planning issues and to improve housing and living conditions in the colonias.
On Tuesday, Martinez will join other members of the U.S. delegation, led by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in Mexico City at the U.S.-Mexico Binational Commission (BNC). Martinez will hold a bilateral meeting with Josefina Vázquez Mota, Mexican Secretary of Social Development, at SEDESOL headquarters. Results of that meeting will be reported to the Binational Group on Trade and Economics, as well as to President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox.
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.
Content Archived: April 9, 2010