HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 04-060
Lemar Wooley
(202) 708-0685

For Release
June 24, 2004

Innovative pilot program designed to encourage housing counseling nationwide

WASHINGTON - Ten lucky families in St. Louis, Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Kansas City, MO will have the chance to own a home of their own because of an innovative Homewise Program unveiled today by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD, in cooperation with the National Housing Endowment, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hopes to encourage housing counseling nationwide by offering an opportunity to share in the American Dream of homeownership

Under the pilot program, the National Housing Endowment will purchase 10 HUD homes and will work with a local NAHB-affiliated homebuilder to renovate each property using in-kind donations of labor and materials as well as $100,000 in donated funds each from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Once restored, the homes will be sold to selected homebuyers for a 50 percent discount.

"The President is committed to increasing homeownership and creating new homebuying opportunities for lower-income households," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "This pilot program will help accomplish his goal of creating 5.5-million new homeowners by the end of the decade while also promoting the value of homeownership counseling."

"The National Association of Home Builders has an ongoing commitment to housing America's working families," said Bobby Rayburn, NAHB president and a home and apartment builder from Jackson, Mississippi. "This pilot program goes directly to the heart of that effort by helping to provide affordable homeownership to families that would otherwise be priced out of the housing market."

"Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is looking forward to bringing our expertise as the nation's top FHA lender and leading provider of home loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers to working on the HomeWise Program with HUD, the National Housing Endowment and the other program participants," said Cara Heiden, executive vice president at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

"This innovative collaboration highlights the critical role that homebuyer counseling and education plays in increasing homeownership opportunities," said Frank Raines, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Fannie Mae. "We welcome the chance to partner with HUD on this initiative, and look forward to continuing our joint efforts to expand the American Dream."

"Freddie Mac is pleased to work with Secretary Jackson, NAHB, and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and help launch this unique affordable homeownership opportunity during National Homeownership Month," said Dwight Robinson, Freddie Mac Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Housing Outreach.

Eligible buyers must be first-time homebuyers who have completed an approved housing counseling course. In eight cities, homes will be awarded by lottery to eligible first-time homebuyers, currently earning 80 or less of their area?s median income. In two cities, homes will be awarded to service disabled veterans. The application period begins July 1st and will continue through July. Those interested in applying for this program can find information and an application on the HUD website or call 1-888-297-8685.

After applicants are screened, a list of those who meet the criteria will be forwarded to local officials who will make the final selection by a random process.

Buyers will be required to sign a 15-year, at or below market rate mortgages on the property, with payments to be based on one-half of the home's appraised value. They will also be required to sign a lien representing the balance of the appraised value, which will be forgiven if the buyer remains in the home and makes timely payments for five years.

"This program is certainly one of the highlights of National Homeownership month, our month-long educational outreach effort designed to provide important home-buying information and financial tools to families," said Jackson. "While the nation's homeownership rate is at an all-time high, just below 70 percent, minority homeownership rates fall well short of that. Creative efforts like Homewise will help reduce that margin."

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and 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 and

About NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 215,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the more than 1.77 million new housing units projected for 2004, making housing one of the largest engines of economic growth in the country.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., is based in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC). Wells Fargo Home Mortgage serves all 50 states through the leading mortgage lending network in the country, with a presence in more than 1,900 mortgage and Wells Fargo bank stores and on the Internet. Combined, its retail and wholesale lending operations provided funding for approximately one of every eight homes financed in the United States in 2003.

Fannie Mae is a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest non-bank financial services company in the world. It operates pursuant to a federal charter and is the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages. Since 1968, Fannie Mae has provided $6 trillion of mortgage financing for more than 60 million families.

Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac purchases single-family and multifamily residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities, which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage passthrough securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has opened doors for one in six homebuyers and more than two million renters in America.

Content Archived: April 22, 2010