HUD No. 03-078
July 16, 2003
MARTINEZ PRAISES COUNTY OFFICIALS FOR SUPPORTING THREE KEY ADMINISTRATION PRIORITIES
Chronic homelessness, downpayment assistance and colonias initiative win
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today praised the National Association of County Officials (NACO) for adopting three resolutions in support of the Bush Administration's strategies to end chronic homelessness, to provide downpayment assistance to lower income families and to increase funding to desperately poor border communities called "colonias."
Supported by a bipartisan group of local leaders, the resolutions demonstrate a spirit of partnership that exists between the nation's counties and the Bush Administration.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us if we are to serve those among us who call the streets their home, who want to share in the American Dream of homeownership, or who live in desperate poverty along the U.S.-Mexican border," said Martinez. "As a former county executive myself, I'm immensely gratified the National Association of County Officials is joining us in helping to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable neighbors."
Ending Chronic Homelessness
NACO's resolution follows a similar action by the U.S. Conference of Mayors last month that encourages cities, and now counties, to develop local 10-year plans that mirror the Administration's strategy of ending chronic homelessness in the next decade. County officials are encouraged to utilize resources being made available through the Interagency Council on Homelessness to help them as they develop 10-year plans that are fashioned on the latest research and new, more effective housing and service strategies that focus on performance outcomes.
American Dream Downpayment Initiative
An important part of the Administration's plan to increase minority homeownership, the American Dream Downpayment Initiative would provide low-income families with grants to help pay for the upfront expenses of owning a home. By helping to pay for the downpayment and closing costs, approximately 40,000 families a year will become new homeowners. To date, Congress has appropriated $75 million for the program and President Bush is requesting $200 million next year. Learn more about the American Dream Downpayment Initiative.
Colonias Gateway Initiative
Along the U.S. border with Mexico, impoverished communities called "colonias" are home to more than 12 million residents. In many cases, these colonias lack decent housing, sewers, roads or even electricity. To help improve the living conditions in these communities, the Bush Administration is proposing a $16 million Colonias Gateway Initiative to support sustainable economic development and affordable housing. The program is expected to help 600,000 families a year who currently do not enjoy the most basic services. NACO's resolution supports the Administration's funding request of Congress.
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.