|For Immediate Release: January 20, 2009
||CONTACT: Henry Fawell (410) 545-5830
Pending Home Sales Data Shows Need For Downpayment Assistance
Legislation from Rep. Al Green would reauthorize downpayment assistance programs
GAITHERSBURG, MD – Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream, Inc., today commended the introduction of bipartisan legislation in Congress to reauthorize downpayment assistance programs funded in part by sellers (DPA). H.R. 600, which is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Al Green (TX-09), would make an estimated 300,000 creditworthy homebuyers eligible for downpayment gifts every year. DPA programs expired under federal law in October 2008 despite helping more than one million families and individuals become homeowners. Similar legislation (H.R. 6694) was adopted by voice vote last year by the House Financial Services Committee.
H.R. 600 would encourage sustainable homeownership by making non-profit downpayment assistance an allowable gift source for creditworthy borrowers of Federal Housing Administration loans. DPA gifts do not have to be paid back and do not cost the taxpayer a dime. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans is 3.5%, effective January 1, 2009.
“H.R. 600 is a common sense solution to the unprecedented problems in the U.S. housing market,” said Ashburn. “This bipartisan plan will encourage creditworthy homebuyers to enter the market and will do so without adding to the taxpayer’s burdens. H.R. 600 will also give a sorely-needed boost to home goods stores, mom and pop shops, construction companies, and cash-strapped local governments that depend on a stable housing market.
“H.R. 600 will only be as successful as its supporters around the country want it to be,” said Ashburn. “I encourage citizens to contact their members of Congress and call for passage of H.R. 600 by visiting http://www.supporthomeownership.com.
“I want to thank Representative Green for his commitment to improving homeownership in America, and for the leadership shown by Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (MA-04), Housing Subcommittee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-35), and Representative Gary Miller (CA-42),” Ashburn concluded. “AmeriDream has been a leading advocate for DPA programs for more than a decade and will fight tirelessly in 2009 to ensure that the next generation of creditworthy homeowners has access to this important program.”
More than 32,000 Americans have called on their representatives in Washington to preserve DPA through phone calls, letters, and emails. They join a broad coalition of supporters, including the National Association of Homebuilders, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Realtors.
BACKGROUND: AmeriDream, a 501(c)(3) charity, was established in 1999 to provide housing-related programs to low and moderate income individuals and families. Many recipients are first-time homebuyers, minorities, legal immigrants, women headed households, and single-parents, achieve homeownership. AmeriDream provides a wide range of programs, including homebuyer education, loss mitigation counseling, community development, and privately-funded down payment assistance. These programs are provided at no cost to the taxpayer. AmeriDream not only seeks to help families purchase homes, but also provide them with the education and other resources needed to be responsible homeowners.