July 26 2002

PRIVATE-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE MINORITY HOMEOWNERSHIP

Martinez Promotes National Campaign to Educate Americans about the Homebuying Process

WASHINGTON – Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez today joined executives from the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage company and the American Library Association to announce a national education campaign, ”The Path to Homeownership Begins @ your library,” designed to help increase minority homeownership among low and moderate income Americans.

“Last month, President Bush announced ‘America’s Homeownership Challenge’ and set a goal to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million by the year 2010,” said Martinez. “Wells Fargo and the American Library Association is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to reach this goal.”

The Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and the American Library Association partnership is designed to provide libraries nationwide with information to help educate potential homeowners about financial decisions related to the homebuying process.

The partnership follows the Bush Administration’s announcement of “America’s Homeownership Challenge” – a call to action by President Bush to tear down the barriers to homeownership that face minority families. In June, the President issued the challenge to the real estate and mortgage finance industries to join in his efforts to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million families by the end of the decade.

During today’s event at the Mt. Pleasant Library in Washington, D.C., Martinez highlighted the Bush Administration’s homeownership initiatives including: 1) the American Dream Downpayment Fund, aimed at helping 40,000 families each year with down payment cost; 2) a single-family tax credit, designed to increase the supply of affordable homes; and, 3) a housing counseling program to help families through the homebuying process and to educate them against unscrupulous lenders.

In addition, Martinez recently unveiled HUD’s Homebuyer Bill of Rights and announced steps to make buying a home less complicated and less expensive. The proposal is designed to ensure that consumers know up front exactly how much their home loan is going to cost and how much is needed at the time of settlement. This reform will enable more Americans to become homeowners by ultimately reducing the closing costs.

More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov.

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