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Tuesday, April 4, 2008
Contact: Henry Fawell
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U.S. Senate Slamming the Door on Key Charitable Downpayment Assistance Programs

Gaithersburg, Md. – Ann Ashburn, President & CEO of AmeriDream, Inc., issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate’s proposed housing stimulus package. The Senate’s proposal eliminates charitable down payment assistance funded in part by home 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.

“The Senate’s housing proposal slams the door on charitable downpayment assistance, which is a proven mechanism for empowering low and moderate income families to achieve homeownership,” said Ashburn. “The Senate’s plan to eliminate one of the most effective means of helping aspiring homeowners with modest means could not come at a worse time, when those families already are facing fewer and fewer options for having a home of their own. Fortunately, charitable downpayment assistance enjoys bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, which has held hearings focused on the issue and studied it thoroughly. We stand ready to continue to work with Congress to identify and implement any changes in law that would help make sure that downpayment assistance programs best serve the public. However, we urge the House to reject the Senate’s proposed ban and preserve charitable downpayment assistance for future generations of homeowners.”

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.