HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 03-075
Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685

For Release
June 26, 2003

HUD's "Homeownership Express" rolls into Portland

PORTLAND, OR - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez was joined by Jim Towey, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, today as he announced a new pilot program called 'Reaching the Dream' aimed at encouraging faith-based and community organizations across America to promote homeownership.

The Reaching the Dream initiative will identify approximately 60 faith-based and community grassroots organizations in three cities, including Portland, Oregon. HUD will assist these organizations in developing partnerships within the lending communities to tailor mortgage products and other resources to meet the needs of those they serve.

"Today we hope to encourage faith-based and other community organizations to join our efforts to make this dream of homeownership a reality for anyone who seeks it," said Martinez. "I've seen what owning a home means to a family. Through the program we announced today grassroots organizations will receive training to create and run effective homebuyer education courses and outreach campaigns in their communities."

Martinez made the announcement during a Portland stop of HUD's "Homeownership Express," a national bus tour as part of a broader effort to increase homeownership for more Americans. 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."

"I applaud the Department of Housing and Urban Development's efforts to expand and support faith-based and community groups' work to promote homeownership," said Towey. "The program demonstrates how government should welcome faith-based organizations as partners in addressing our nation's social problems."

[Photo of Secretary Martinez at the podium]
HUD Secretary Mel Martinez addresses the White House Faith-Based and Communities Initiatives Confernce in Portland Oregon.

Martinez later addressed the White House-sponsored conference on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The conference is intended to help faith-based and smaller community organizations gain greater access to federal programs that serve the poor.

This year HUD's Housing Counseling Program will provide $35 million in grants to established counseling organizations around the country. In turn, these organizations help low- and moderate-income renters to cross the threshold into homeownership. Next year, President Bush is proposing to increase this program to $45 million. As part of the Reaching the Dream initiative, HUD has published a brochure for faith-based and community organizations entitled "5 Steps to Becoming a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency" to assist grassroots organizations seeking to qualify for the grant program.

The Bush Administration believes faith-based and other community grassroots organizations are uniquely suited to provide homebuyer education to lower income first-time homebuyers. Because of the depth of their roots in communities, faith-based organizations can do a great deal to increase homeownership in America. Visit to learn more about how faith-based or community grassroots organizations can encourage homeownership or call (202) 708-2404.

Shortly after taking office, President Bush directed federal agencies to identify and remove regulatory barriers that exclude faith-based and smaller grassroots organizations from federal grant programs. Funding opportunities vary widely across the federal agencies, making it disproportionately difficult for smaller grassroots organizations to take advantage of federal grant programs. In addition, the applications process for these grant programs is often too complicated for smaller community organizations to navigate.

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.

Visit for more information on the Administration's Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (was linked to



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