HUD No. 07-018
February 23, 2007
JACKSON ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS TO INCREASE AFRICAN AMERICAN HOMEOWNERSHIP
Partnership underscores importance of Black History Month and Bush Administration's efforts to help more minority families become homeowners
LAS VEGAS, NV - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) today highlighted Black History Month by pledging to work together to increase minority homeownership, particularly among African Americans. This partnership is another step towards achieving President Bush's goal of 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade.
After addressing NAREB's 60th annual mid winter conference, Jackson and NAREB President Clifford Turner signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that demonstrates HUD's support for NAREB's Rebuilding America Initiative. This initiative reaffirms the Department's efforts to help more African American families share in the dream of homeownership.
"Our partnership will help millions of Americans to purchase homes. It will operate in concert with the Bush Administration's efforts to provide rapid and inclusive home buying within America's minority communities," Jackson is expected to say in remarks tonight.
The Bush Administration continues to make steady progress toward closing the minority homeownership gap. We are more than half way to the President's goal of adding 5.5 million new minority homeowners by 2010, and the minority homeownership rate exceeds 51 percent -- its highest level ever. According the Census Bureau's homeownership rate report for the fourth quarter of 2006, nearly 6.5 million African Americans are homeowners, up 13,000 from the third quarter and up 120,000 from the fourth quarter of 2005.
Still there is a significant homeownership gap between non-Hispanic whites and minorities. HUD and NAREB are working together to close that gap. The Rebuilding America Initiative MOU signed by HUD and NAREB establishes a mutual partnership that is committed to helping more African-Americans become homeowners by:
- Helping prospective African-American homebuyers work with fair lending institutions that offer mortgages at affordable rates;
- Providing African-Americans with counseling services that financially prepare them to buy a home;
- Helping African-Americans who already own a home to make their mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure; and
- Better educating NAREB members about the importance of helping their clients fully understand the homebuying process.
"All of this will help minorities and others who have historically been excluded from the housing market find new opportunities and options. Homeownership is empowerment. It is freedom. It represents a step toward financial security. It is the American Dream," Jackson will add tonight.
President Bush's Fiscal Year 2008 proposed budget takes significant strides to build an Ownership Society that helps more minority families own and maintain a home, including:
- Modernizing the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which would give homebuyers who do not qualify for prime financing a better alternative to high-cost, high-risk loan products. The President's Budget continues the legislative proposal to modernize the FHA's mortgage insurance program so that tens of thousands of potential homebuyers - many of whom are minority families - have access to a safer financing tool.
- Providing $50 million for housing counseling, an $8.4 million increase over 2006, which offers a wide array of counseling services to prepare families to buy their first home, to avoid predatory lending practices, and assist current homeowners facing default.
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, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.