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NATIONAL HOUSING PROGRAM DEDICATED TO INCREASING MINORITY HOMEOWNERSHIP
-- AmeriDream Marks Black History Month with Milestone  --


Gaithersburg, MD (February 18, 2003) AmeriDream, Inc., the largest down payment gift provider in the United States, today announced that more than 15,000 African Americans are celebrating Black History Month in their own homes thanks to down payment gifts from AmeriDream. 

According to a June 2002 survey by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), fewer than half of African Americans own homes. This number is in stark contrast to the homeownership rate of white households, which is approximately 74 percent.  (See report at http://www.hud.gov/initiatives/blueprint/econreport-101502.pdf) According to HUD’s report, one key reason for this homeownership gap is the lack of money for down payment and closing costs.  The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program provides these funds to the buyer with no expectation of repayment.

 “Our goal is to eliminate the down payment barrier for minority buyers and help close the homeownership gap,” said Ann Ashburn, CEO of AmeriDream.  “We are proud to say that, without the need for any federal funding, we have helped thousands of minority families realize the American Dream of owning their own homes.”

Among these families are the Gibsons from Kansas City, Mo., who will soon celebrate their one-year anniversary in their home. The Gibsons exemplify one of President Bush’s current goals: to increase minority homeownership over the next 10 years – a goal that AmeriDream is helping to achieve. 

“Both my husband and I are college graduates,” said Carla Gibson. “But we had student loans to repay after college. That, coupled with our other monthly expenses, made saving a down payment almost impossible. With the assistance we received from AmeriDream, we were able to purchase a lovely home in May 2002.”

Since establishing its program in 1999, AmeriDream has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families become homeowners.  The kind of assistance provided by AmeriDream is helping to bolster the Bush administration’s commitment to increasing homeownership.  Earlier this year, the administration announced budget proposals designed to increase minority homeownership, including $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Fund to help low- to moderate-income families become first-time homebuyers.  President Bush’s proposals also included an added $2 million for research to help reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing. 

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The mission of AmeriDream, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, is to expand homeownership opportunities for underserved groups and promote the value of homeownership as the foundation for building strong communities and individual prosperity. AmeriDream, Inc. is a non-profit, publicly supported organization that is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). AmeriDream, Inc. meets the requirements for a charitable organization, as referenced in the HUD Handbook 4155.1 REV-4, CHG-1 Section 2-10 for FHA insured loans.  In addition to The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, AmeriDream also operates The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and Florida, and the Community Link Program nationwide. Through the Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream has spent more than $8 million to rehabilitate properties and return them to the market at affordable prices. Through Community Link, AmeriDream has donated more than $1.5 million to a range of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and the Victims Rights Foundation.