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For Immediate Release: July 16, 2008 CONTACT: Henry Fawell (410) 545-5830

America Weighs In For Downpayment Assistance

Public Comments Overwhelmingly Oppose HUD Plan To Ban Key Downpayment Assistance Program

GAITHERSBURG , MD – Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream, Inc., today applauded the thousands of individuals nationwide who in the last month have publicly opposed the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s proposal to ban downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers. Those programs, operated by charitable organizations in accordance with current law and HUD guidelines, have helped more than one million low and moderate income families and individuals buy their own homes since 2000.

HUD proposed regulations in June that would eliminate the program, despite having two federal courts invalidate the same plan in 2007. More than 14,000 families and individuals registered their support for downpayment assistance during HUD’s comment period last year. AmeriDream encourages families and individuals to voice their support for downpayment assistance today before HUD eliminates this vital program for low and middle-income aspiring homeowners.

Highlights from this year’s comments are below. A list of these comments and more can be found here: http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=HUD-2007-0065

  • Michelle H.: “As a small business owner, this rule would put me out of business. I know that there are thousands of people that these programs have helped that have not foreclosed on their homes. A number of recommendations have been made to strengthen these programs, HUD needs to act on these recommendations and not eliminate the program.” – 6/14/2008
  • Scott C.: “For a first time home owner, this program is practically indispensable. To remove the Down Payment Assistance program would be a massive injustice to first-time home owners and the american dream.” – 7/14/2008
  • Kristi P.: “ I really hope that somebody will listen and see the good in these programs as it's done correctly, morally and fairly between all parties involved. Why take this away?” – 7/15/2008
  • Justin M.: “Don't punish people like myself, a first time homebuyer, that has good credit and a steady middle class income…Without DPA I would have been renting for a much longer time wasting away my income with no equity build up in return. It is essential that DPA programs continue to be made available to first time homebuyers and young couples that are the future of the country.” – 7/14/2008
  • Charlene S.: “As a middle-income single woman, I am currently in the market for a house, in order to stop wasting my money each month on rent. However, if this program is eliminated I will not be able to achieve this goal. Please do not let HUD go through with this action.” – 7/14/2008
  • Holly V. : “Down Payment Assistance programs are one of the reasons why the real estate market hasn't tanked even further. Many buyers would not be able to afford the closing costs and down payment without some help. Please keep these programs in place.” -- 7/2/2008
  • Tim L.: “FHA was established to expand home ownership opportunities. The elimination of seller funded down payment assistance programs would reduce the number of potential home buyers who would qualify for an FHA mortgage.” -- 6/28/2008
  • Andy M.: “This program is one of the best available today to help homeowners purchase a property, and stay in the home. Especially in today's market, taking away one of the greatest tools to help homebuyers can only deflate the market even more, and hurt the US economy. The more we restrict solid homeowners from getting into properties the more we limit the housing market's ability to recover.” -- 6/21/2008
  • Virginia H.: “Personally, I would not have been able to buy my first home without the generosity of my parents, who effectively gave me my downpayment. Most people in this country, particularly in our current economic environment, do not have this option. .. What a crime it would be for our Government to terminate the option of DPA - money that comes from the good work of the various non-profit organizations who know the value of home ownership. It means as much to our country and our economy as it does to the individual home owner. Please stop using taxpayers dollars to terminate this program - a program that is fulfilled not by government funds.” –6/30/2008
  • Stacy D.: “ We preach all over the news about how owning a home is the American Dream and that the Federal Government cares, but then you take away that capability for many.” – 7/14/2008

BACKGROUND: Charitable downpayment assistance funded in part with seller participation has allowed homeownership to grow without using taxpayer dollars. To date, more than one million families and individuals have utilized this downpayment assistance, generating nearly $10 billion in home equity for those families between 2000 and 2005. AmeriDream has provided more than 200,000 gifts to aspiring homeowners, approximately 80% of whom were first-time homebuyers. AmeriDream also has helped educate 60,000 homebuyers through homebuyer education courses, helped 1,200 homeowners retain their homes when confronted with mortgage difficulties, and committed over $30 million to affordable housing development in local communities.