HUD No. 03-099
October 1, 2003
MARTINEZ APPLAUDS HOUSE PASSAGE OF AMERICAN DREAM DOWNPAYMENT ACT
Bi-partisan approval helps meet Bush Administration's "Homeownership Challenge"
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for approving President Bush's request to fund The American Dream Downpayment Initiative. The $400 million measure will assist 80,000 low-income families to become homeowners and will help meet President Bush's "Homeownership Challenge" to increase minority homeownership by 5.5 million families by the end of the decade.
"I want to personally thank the House of Representatives for its strong leadership in helping more families share in the American Dream of homeownership," said Martinez. "I strongly urge the Senate to join us as we move closer to that day when everyone who can afford to own a home can become stakeholders in their own neighborhoods."
High downpayment and closing costs represent the most significant barrier to homeownership for first-time homebuyers. The American Dream Downpayment Initiative will provide an average downpayment assistance grant of $5,000 to low-income families - this assistance, along with new regulations proposed by Secretary Martinez to lower closing costs for all Americans, will help to increase homeownership, particularly among minorities who continue to significantly lag behind historically high national homeownership rates.
Congress appropriated $75 million for the American Dream Downpayment Initiative
for fiscal year 2003 and President Bush renewed his request for an additional
$200 million for the program in fiscal year 2004. Today, the House approved
the President's request to provide $200 million in grants, for each of FY 2004
and 2005, to help defray these costs for thousands of American families struggling
to buy their first home.
The American Dream Downpayment Initiative will be administered under HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME). Since its inception, the HOME Program has played a vital role in addressing the shortages of affordable rental housing and homeownership in communities nationwide. For more information, visit the American Dream Downpayment Initiative.
Last year HUD released a report that concludes adding 5.5 million minority homeowners will stimulate an additional $256 billion in benefits to the housing sector of the U.S. economy. In addition, HUD created The Blueprint for the American Dream Partnership, a coalition involving every segment of the housing industry to build broad-based support of the President's goal of increasing homeownership opportunities for minority families.
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.