HUD No. 03-073
June 18, 2003
MARTINEZ BRINGS "HOMEOWNERSHIP EXPRESS" TO ORLANDO - JOINS HISPANIC LEADERS TO PROMOTE AMERICAN DREAM
Bus tour highlights National Homeownership Month
ORLANDO, FL - Hispanic and African-American families continue to own homes at significantly lower rates than the rest of the country - a trend Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez wants to reverse. Today, Martinez brought HUD's "Homeownership Express" national bus tour to Orlando as part of a broader effort to increase homeownership for all Americans.
Martinez told a group of Puerto Rican business leaders in Orlando that the Bush Administration is committed to adding 5.5 million minority homeowners by the end of the decade. Last week, President Bush proclaimed June as National Homeownership Month, "recognizing the importance of offering every American the opportunity to realize their dream of homeownership and to help work towards making that dream a reality."
During today's event, the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC) unveiled "Welcome MMAT," a new initiative designed to improve homeownership opportunities for the Hispanic community through financial literacy training, homebuyer education, and on affordable housing program.
"NPRC's 'Welcome MMAT' program will be a tremendous resource to help increase homeownership opportunities in Orlando's Hispanic community," said Martinez. "Owning their own home not only gives a family a stake in their own neighborhood, it strengthens entire communities. The challenge before us is to make this opportunity available to even more people, particularly minority families who continue to be on the sidelines in the American Dream."
Recent census figures indicate that while nearly 70 percent of all Americans own their own homes, less than half of African-American and Hispanic families are homeowners. Last year, President Bush announced a goal to significantly increase the number of minority homeowners by the year 2010 and challenged the real estate and mortgage finance industries to work in partnership to help achieve this goal. Created by Martinez last year, the Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership is a coalition involving many segments of the housing industry.
This partnership developed a strategy that identifies four areas that must be addressed to meet the President's goal including: educating more people in the homebuying process; addressing the affordability issue; providing more downpayment and closing cost assistance; and, offering more home financing options for low- to moderate-income Americans.
The Bush Administration has established an number of initiatives to help more families achieve the American Dream, including: the American Dream Downpayment Initiative; additional funding for housing counseling; providing an option for families receiving rental assistance to buy a home; creating the Single-Family Affordable Housing Tax Credit; increased support for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program SHOP); proposing a $113 million increase for the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program; and, reducing regulatory barriers that inhibit the production of affordable housing.
Beginning in June of 1997, HUD marked a week-long national homeownership observance. For the second consecutive year, President Bush Administration expanded this observance to the entire month of June to underscore the importance of homeownership and to focus national attention on initiatives to expand the American Dream to even more Americans. More information on homeownership month can be found on the Internet, a new web page especially designed to provide important information and tips about owning a home, and also links to all of The Blueprint for the American Dream Partners.
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.