|For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2008
||CONTACT: Henry Fawell
AmeriDream Applauds Bipartisan Legislation to Preserve Charitable Downpayment Assistance
GAITHERSBURG, MD – AmeriDream, Inc., today applauds the introduction of bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and reform charitable downpayment assistance. The bill, H.R. 6694 sponsored by U.S. Rep. Al Green (TX-09), would remedy a harmful provision in the new housing law which limits homeownership opportunities for low and middle-income Americans. The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Gary Miller (CA-42), Maxine Waters (CA-35), and Christopher Shays (CT-4) and reauthorizes and reforms charitable downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers, which has helped over one million families and individuals become homeowners since 1999. The program was eliminated by legislation signed by President Bush on July 30, 2008.
The Green-Miller-Waters-Shays plan would make non-profit downpayment assistance an allowable gift source for FHA borrowers. The bill further seeks to ensure that providers of the downpayment assistance operate in a transparent manner to guard against conflicts of interest. It also includes language to ensure that the Federal Housing Administration maintains its financial stability by permanently authorizing the Secretary of the Department of Housing & Urban Development to assess higher premiums to higher risk borrowers.
To view the entire legislation and learn how you can support it, visit http://www.ameridream.org/documents/congress/hr6694.pdf .
"Congress has the power to mend - not end - downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers," said U.S. Rep. Al Green. "More than 100,000 hard-working families and individuals, many of them women and minorities, depend on these programs annually to become homeowners. I introduced this bipartisan legislation to preserve access to homeownership while protecting the FHA's solvency. I thank my colleagues, Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and Reps. Gary Miller and Christopher Shays, for their support of this important legislation and for recognizing that the next generation of homeowners is counting on this program."
More than 32,000 Americans have called on Congress and the Bush Administration to preserve charitable downpayment assistance over the past year through phone calls, letters, and emails. They join a broad coalition of supporters, including the National Association of Homebuilders, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
“The recent housing bill may have slammed the door on working families, but we are heartened that Congress has begun to take steps to re-open it. U.S. Representatives Al Green, Gary Miller, Maxine Waters, and Christopher Shays understand what is at stake for working families and have proposed common-sense, constructive reforms to put them back on the path to homeownership. We strongly support their efforts to re-authorize and reform charitable downpayment assistance,” said Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream.
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. These working families qualify for FHA insured loans in every respect, but are unable to save the needed downpayment. AmeriDream has provided more than 250,000 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.