Blueprint for an Ownership Society: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Is Celebrating This Month Because It's National Homeownership Month. HUD Has Many Initiatives under Way to Promote Wider Enjoyment of the American Dream

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IN KICKING OFF NATIONAL HOMEOWNERSHIP Month this June, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson recalled a recent visit with President George W. Bush to suburban Philadelphia, where they met new homeowner Pearl Cerdan. * For almost four years, Cerdan had been thinking about buying a home for herself and her six children. By taking advantage of homeownership education classes, she learned money and credit-management skills and soon became a first-time homebuyer. * When Cerdan opened her front door to welcome the visiting president "into my home," she embodied everything that this administration has advanced in promoting an ownership society. As President Bu0sh has said, "We think it's in the best interests of the country that more people own something. When you own something you call your own, you have a vital stake in the future of our nation." * "I've heard the president talk many times about his vision of an 'ownership society' in which every person has the opportunity to own a home," says Jackson. "The president believes passionately that homeownership is the key to financial independence, the accumulation of wealth, and stronger, healthier communities." * The Bush administration understands that government serves people best by helping them to become self-sufficient--and that homeownership is the surest path to self-sufficiency. During the month (June) we set aside annually for acknowledging homeownership's role in creating stronger families and communities, it is appropriate to stop and take stock of the administration's efforts to help more Americans own a home of their own.

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President Bush believes fervently that the American dream is meant for everyone. He is committed to building a society in which every person can realize that dream. And he has seized the opportunity to encourage homeownership through policy and legislation. In fact, Department officials believe that Bush has done more than any other president in HUD's nearly 40-year history to focus the attention of the nation on the power of homeownership.

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"The industry has taken notice of President Bush's commitment to promote an ownership society," says Angelo Mozilo, chairman and chief executive officer of Countrywide Financial Corporation, Calabasas, California. "It has been more than just talk--the administration has backed it up by pushing initiatives like the American Dream Downpayment Act through Congress. It's apparent that this administration understands that home and business ownership give people a compelling stake in their community and create generational wealth," says Mozilo.

Mozilo adds, "With the president providing vocal leadership on the importance of homeownership, we have seen an even greater emphasis from the private sector on emerging markets. As a result, 1 expect homeownership opportunities are going to continue to grow, especially for minorities and other previously underserved borrowers."

In his March 27, 2004, weekly radio address, Bush focused his remarks on homeownership and spoke of the progress made to date on the Blueprint for the American Dream partnership, an administration initiative that is leveraging government and industry resources to create 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of this decade.

More than two dozen major companies and organizations--known collectively as the American Dream Team--have committed to increasing the number of loans to low-income families, financing the construction of more affordable housing and providing financial counseling to potential buyers. This includes pledges to provide more than $1.1 trillion in mortgage purchases for minority homebuyers this decade.

Since the announcement of the Blueprint for the American Dream partnership in October 2002, more than 1.5 million minority families have moved into homes of their own. …