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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (September 27, 2004) – AmeriDream, the nation's leading provider of affordable housing opportunities, continues its efforts to raise homeownership rates in the Hispanic community.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported in the second quarter of 2004 the homeownership rate among Hispanics was 47.4%, lagging behind the overall total of homeownership:  69.2%. The Caucasian homeownership rate was 76.2%. “A troubling trend we’re seeing in the market today is a low percentage of minorities owning a home,” said Ann Ashburn, President and CEO. “We want to close the housing gap.”

In an effort to increase homeownership among minorities, AmeriDream offers numerous programs. The Downpayment Gift Program gives 3-10% of the sales price of a home to buyers for down payment or closing costs. AmeriDream also offers the DreamKeeper Mortgage Payment Relief Program to help protect the homes of those who find themselves involuntarily unemployed or disabled. Additionally, AmeriDream’s Home Retention Program provides guidance to homeowners who find themselves missing mortgage payments. AmeriDream works with lenders to make sure all foreclosure alternatives are examined.

“In the midst of National Hispanic Heritage Month, AmeriDream continues to reach out to
increase Hispanic homeownership,” said Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. “Through their support of our National Housing Initiative, we are working together to expand the accessibility of homeownership to Latinos and to address the current obstacles faced by Hispanics in the home buying process.”

Every month AmeriDream helps over 200 Hispanic families and individuals become homeowners and is working to increase this number. AmeriDream offers its homebuyer education course in Spanish, as well as, offering Spanish-language brochures detailing all of the above programs, a Spanish-language Website and bilingual staff to assist callers.

“I always dreamed of having my own house where my children could sleep in peace, a place that no one could take away from us. This kind of life was not possible for us in El Salvador … we tried to save money for the down payment for 6 years when my son’s friend told us about the program. I didn’t know such a program existed. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for this program and the opportunity it gave our family to own our own home,” said Carmen Guardado, a participant in the AmeriDream program.

Homeownership is part of the American dream, a dream many Hispanic Americans still cannot achieve. AmeriDream will continue to work to lower the barriers and obstacles to homeownership and to promote the value of homeownership as a strong foundation that supports lasting communities and individual prosperity. For more information, visit www.ameridream.org.




The mission of AmeriDream, 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. AmeriDream, Inc. is a non-profit, publicly supported organization that is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). AmeriDream, Inc. meets the requirements for a charitable organization, as referenced in the HUD Handbook 4155.1 REV-4, CHG-1 Section 2-10 for FHA insured loans.  In addition to The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program and DreamKeeper mortgage payment relief, AmeriDream also operates The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and Florida, and the Community Link Program nationwide. Through the Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream has spent more than $11 million to rehabilitate properties and return them to the market at affordable prices. Through Community Link, AmeriDream has donated more than $2 million to a range of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, the Victims Rights Foundation and the Hatteras Island Rebuilding Fund.