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For Immediate Release: July 15, 2008 CONTACT: Henry Fawell (410) 545-5830

Home Builders Predict “Devastating Impact” If Congress Eliminates Key Downpayment Assistance Program

GAITHERSBURG , MD – The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), on behalf of its 235,000 members, is calling on Congress to preserve downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers as House and Senate leaders debate the future of this vital homeownership program. The program, operated by charitable organizations in accordance with current law and HUD guidelines, has helped more than one million low and moderate income families and individuals buy their own homes since 2000.

In a letter dated July 10, 2008 to leaders in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, the NAHB writes that, "a sudden shutdown of this supplementary source of assistance would have a devastating impact on efforts to provide homeownership opportunities. It would also have a serious adverse impact on FHA’s role in support of homeownership." To read the letter, click here or visit http://supporthomeownership.com .

The Senate voted last week to ban this proven program as part of its version of the housing stimulus package. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan plan in May to preserve the program while tightening standards and protecting the FHA’s solvency. Representatives from the House and Senate will meet in coming days to craft compromise legislation.

“We are grateful that the NAHB has added its respected voice to the overwhelming public call to regulate – not eliminate – downpayment assistance funded in part by sellers,” said Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream, Inc., a leading provider of downpayment assistance. “I urge House and Senate leaders to do right for America’s families and protect downpayment assistance in their final housing stimulus package. Failure to do so will slam the homeownership door on 100,000 families and individuals – many of them minorities and women – and further destabilize the housing market.”

Downpayment assistance also enjoys support from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Urban League.

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 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.

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