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HUD Secretary Recognizes HFH For Promoting Homeownership

Washington, DC. - April, 9 2001 - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez applauded Habitat for Humanity International’s (HFHI) efforts to promote homeownership in a press conference outlining the budget for FY2002. The Secretary highlighted Habitat for Humanity as an example of how the public, private and non-profit sectors can effectively work together to address the critical need for affordable housing and homeownership for low-income families.

Since 1996, HUD’s Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (S.H.O.P) has helped fuel HFHI’s efforts to eliminate substandard housing. S.H.O.P. funds are used to “set the stage” for house-building activities by financing land purchases and infrastructure development, two of the most significant stumbling blocks HFH affiliates encounter in their work. For every dollar in S.H.O.P funds received, HFH affiliates are able to leverage, on average, an additional four dollars. S.H.O.P. funds received to date will facilitate the production of more than 6,000 homes.

In 1998, HFHI received its first Capacity Building for Habitat for Humanity grant appropriated by the Congress and administered by HUD. These grants have been used to increase HFHI’s national house-building capacity by providing technical assistance to local affiliates to build more homes. Affiliates that participated in the first grant cycle increased their house production last year by 33 percent, double the HUD requirement.

Secretary Martinez introduced two future Habitat for Humanity homeowners, Ms. Helena Spencer and Ms. Penny Williams. These single mothers, each with three boys, are working 500 “sweat equity” hours on their own homes and other Habitat for Humanity homes. The Spencer and Williams’ homes are being built as part of the U.S. Senators Build. The U.S. Senators Build is part of The Houses The Senate Built, a program in which every member of the U.S. Senate will build at least one Habitat for Humanity house in his or her home state. Secretary Martinez participated in the U.S. Senators Build wall-raising and announced that he and the people of HUD would build “The House The HUD Secretary Built” in the District of Columbia.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary year, Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 2,000 communities in 76 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.