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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2008 CONTACT: Henry Fawell (410) 545-5830

Court Invalidates HUD Rule on Downpayment Assistance

AmeriDream Leads Successful Legal Effort To Protect Homeownership

Gaithersburg , Md. –In a momentous victory for potential home buyers, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Freidman yesterday invalidated the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s October 1, 2007 regulation prohibiting seller-funded downpayment assistance. The judge found that:

“plaintiff’s have set forth plausible reasons for doubting the accuracy of HUD’s loan datano records were kept identifying the funding source for any downpayment assistance for several years of the period HUD purportedly analyzed … The problem with HUD’s explanation is not that it lacks a sufficient number of citations; the problem with HUD’s explanation is that it explicitly (and inexplicably) relies on sources that do not support its conclusions. As a result, this Court is unable to conclude that HUD engaged in ‘a course of reasoned decision making.’ … The Court concludes that HUD’s explanation of the Final Rule reflects a lack of reasoned decision making and therefore violates the APA. ... Those infirmities inspire a good deal of doubt as to ‘whether the agency chose correctly.’ ” [ Case 1:07-cv-01752-PLF, pg. 18-19]

As a result, HUD may not implement the regulation, which would have deprived thousands of aspiring home buyers, most of them low and middle-income, of a proven program for purchasing their own home. HUD has been unable to implement this rule since October due to AmeriDream’s efforts.

“The Court’s decision reaffirms the hard work of Congress to protect downpayment assistance programs which have helped more than one million credit-worthy homebuyers achieve the dream of homeownership,” said U.S. Rep. Al Green (TX-9). “HUD's failure to provide evidentiary support and their reliance on ‘flimsy anecdotal evidence’ demonstrates a lack of rational grounds for eliminating the program. I commend AmeriDream’s continuous fight to provide vital assistance to underserved Americans who deserve a chance to become homeowners.”

AmeriDream was joined in its opposition to the HUD rule by Members of Congress: Chairman Barney Frank, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, Congressmen Al Green and Gary Miller. “We are especially grateful for the outstanding bi-partisan leadership by Members of Congress,” said Ashburn. In addition, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Urban League, and over 14,000 individuals and families nationwide sent comments into HUD were also a tremendous aid on behalf of downpayment assistance.

“Today’s decision goes far beyond previous Court rulings by vacating the rule and sending HUD back to square one,” said Ann Ashburn, president and CEO of AmeriDream, Inc., the down payment assistance provider that filed suit against HUD. “The Court dealt HUD a serious blow, one that we hope prompts the agency to reconsider its recent position toward downpayment assistance providers.”

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 between 2000 and 2005. AmeriDream has provided more than 200,000 gifts to aspiring homeowners, 80% of whom were first-time homebuyers. AmeriDream has helped educate 60,000 homebuyers through homebuyer education courses, and helped 1,200 homeowners retain their homes when confronted with mortgage difficulties, and has committed over $30 million to affordable housing development in local communities.

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