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Monday, June 16, 2008
Contact: Henry Fawell
(410) 545-5830

During Homeownership Month HUD Proposes A Rule That Would Eliminate Homeownership For 100,000 Homebuyers Annually
AmeriDream Urges the Public to Support Downpayment Assistance Programs

GAITHERSBURG, MD – Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream, Inc., issued the following statement criticizing a proposed rule issued June 16, 2008 by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to eliminate downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers. Downpayment assistance programs, operated by charitable organizations in accordance with current law and HUD guidelines, have helped more than one million low to moderate income HUD-approved families and individuals buy their own homes for the past decade. A similar proposal by HUD last year failed after receiving over 14,000 comments opposing HUD’s position and having implementation blocked by two Federal Courts.

“As the rest of the country recognizes June as National Homeownership Month, HUD is planning to deny homeownership opportunities for the working class that include minorities, women, firefighters, teachers, lower income and first time homebuyers, thereby slamming the door on more than 100,000 qualified homebuyers annually. Because these programs help so many families and individuals buy their first homes, these programs must be part of comprehensive relief for the housing crisis.

“A bipartisan coalition in Congress is currently considering ways to preserve these charitable downpayment assistance programs, while tightening eligibility and other requirements. We urge HUD to let the legislative process run its course, to respect the public’s comments received last year supporting the assistance programs and to work with all stakeholders to regulate -- not eliminate -- these vital assistance programs.”

Downpayment assistance programs are supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Homebuilders, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Counties, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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 250,000 gifts to HUD-approved 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.