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First network of real estate professionals, lenders, builders and down payment gift recipients will promote affordable housing

WASHINGTON, DC (October 4, 2002) The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. today announced the launch of a new grassroots action network comprised of lenders, real estate professionals, builders, down payment gift recipients and others who support programs to increase opportunities for homeownership.  Created to promote and educate policy makers at all levels of government about affordable housing, down payment assistance and other housing issues, “The Voice” already has more than 1,300 participants nationwide. 

“We are pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to ‘The Voice,’” said AmeriDream CEO Christopher Russell. “The fact that over a thousand people have already joined the network is an affirmation that concerned citizens across the country share our vision to make affordable housing a reality.” 

The mission of “The Voice” is to promote, educate and influence decision-makers in all levels of government, as well as local media, about important housing issues. Each month, members of “The Voice” members receive the one-page newsletter, Action Alert, which identifies an issue upon which they may act.

“Every month, citizen lobbyists advocate on important issues together,” Russell said. “Elected officials pay attention to their constituents, and the voices of the people are very powerful and influential.”

For their first Action Alert, members sent postcards to FHA Commissioner John C. Weicher about a recent study conducted by The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. and Experian. This study refutes accusations of increased mortgage delinquency arising from down payment gift funds.   Members of “The Voice” wrote personal notes about the importance of down payment gift funds and reiterated the study’s findings that delinquencies among buyers using The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program were lower than those in FHA’s overall loan portfolio.

“Through this grassroots effort, more than 1,000 people collectively reminded officials within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that down payment gift programs like AmeriDream’s meet a critical need among low- and moderate-income families, helping them overcome the single largest barrier to homeownership -- the down payment,” Russell said.

Each member of “The Voice” receives a resource guide that includes contact information on elected officials and government agencies; lobbying and advocacy tips; information on the legislative process; biographies on select officials; a media guide and other housing information. There is no cost to join “The Voice.”

Prospective members of “The Voice” should send their name, address, city, state, zip code and e-mail address to: The Voice, c/o Primary Communications, 926 J Street, Suite 913, Sacramento, CA 95814. For more information, call (916) 224-2482 or e-mail bobbie_singh_allen@hotmail.com.

The mission of The AmeriDream Charity, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, is to expand homeownership opportunities for underserved groups and promote the value of homeownership as the foundation for building strong communities and individual prosperity.   A 501(c)(3) organization, The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. meets HUD requirements as a down payment gift provider for FHA insured loans.  In addition to The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, AmeriDream also operates The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Through its Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream has spent more than $8 million to rehabilitate properties and return them to the market at affordable prices. The AmeriDream Charity, Inc. has also donated more than $1 million to a range of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

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