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-- Importance of Down Payment Assistance Stressed --

WASHINGTON (October 16, 2002) – The Homeownership Alliance of Nonprofit Downpayment Providers (HAND), the national alliance of nonprofit down payment assistance organizations, said today it is leading the effort to help the Bush Administration bring homeownership to 5.5 million minority Americans by the end of this decade.

At the White House Conference on Minority Homeownership yesterday, attended by AmeriDream CEO and interim chairman of HAND Christopher Russell, President George W. Bush said that without the assistance of the nonprofit sector, his goal could not be reached.  The President also acknowledged that in spite of new initiatives by HUD, “government can’t do everything.”

In his remarks, Mr. Bush said the No. 1 barrier to increasing homeownership was clearing the “hurdle” of the down payment.  The Administration is proposing a $200 million-a-year grant program to be used for down payment assistance to qualified homebuyers.  

Russell said the members of HAND have helped hundreds of thousands of Americans achieve homeownership with down payment gifts.

Russell estimated that approximately 250,000 families will have achieved homeownership by the end of 2002 because of the private capital used to provide gift down payments. “We agree with the President that the government cannot do this alone,” he said.  “And we know that he appreciates that the down payment gifts from our members are derived from private capital, not government handouts.” 

Russell said the nonprofit down payment gift industry has created “a new pool of buyers” by reaching out to persons who are qualified for a mortgage but lack the cash for a down payment.  These buyers are not expected to repay the down payment gifts.

“By the end of this year, our programs will have provided $750 million in down payment assistance to help families achieve homeownership, ” Russell said.  “And in helping the President achieve his goal, by the end of the decade, our industry will have provided more than $6 billion in gift funds to help two million individuals and families become homeowners.”

Bush, who called the session attended by lenders, real estate professionals, community development leaders and others in the housing industry “a very important conference,” said he has been told his 5.5 million goal “is a stretch, but I don’t think it is.  I don’t like to lay out a goal and not mean it.  I mean it.”


About AmeriDream: 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.

About HAND: The Homeownership Alliance of Nonprofit Downpayment Providers (HAND) was formed to promote public awareness of the availability of down payment assistance from its members to low- and moderate-income Americans.  Members of HAND include The AmeriDream Charity, Inc., of Gaithersburg, MD, American Family Funds, Inc., of Mobile, AL; Consumer Debt Solutions, Inc., of Highland, N.Y.; Fair Housing Assistance of Orem, UT; The Genesis Program of Austin, TX; Home Buyers Assistance Foundation of Alpharetta, GA; Homes for All, North Fort Myers, FL; and Neighborhood Gold of Orem, UT.