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HFHI Joins President in Call For Minority Homeownership

Habitat for Humanity International Joins President in Call For Minority Homeownership

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15, 2002 - Habitat for Humanity International joined President George W. Bush, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, and other leaders from the private, public and nonprofit housing industry at the White House Conference on Minority Homeownership today.

In keeping with President Bush’s goal of adding 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade, Habitat for Humanity International has expressed in “Blueprint for the American Dream,” a response to the homeownership challenge, its commitment to build an additional 27,800 affordable houses in the United States as early as 2005, approximately 20,800 of which will be bought by minority homeowners.

“The ‘Blueprint for the American Dream’ that we unveiled today is the response to the ‘homeownership challenge’ President Bush issued in June to increase minority homeownership,” said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. “Our partners, representing every segment of the affordable housing industry, are committed to working together to achieve the president’s goal of adding 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade,” said Martinez.

Tom Jones, vice president of Habitat for Humanity International and managing director of HFHI’s Washington Office, joined other housing leaders at a morning panel discussion on “Affordable Homes” at the conference. “Habitat for Humanity has long been committed to making the dream of homeownership a reality for all families in need of an affordable, decent place to live. Though over 70 percent of Habitat for Humanity families are minority members, Habitat for Humanity-like the president-remains concerned that minority participation rates in homeownership across this nation are not what they could and should be. Habitat for Humanity will continue to work to provide affordable, viable homeownership opportunities for all who seek to own a home of their own,” said Jones.

In addition to Jones, representing Habitat for Humanity at the conference and presidential speech were Nic Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and member of the Habitat for Humanity International Board of Directors; Jane Maloney, director of national programs in HFHI’s Washington Office; Helen Unangst, executive director of the Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia affiliate; and Eugenio and Leticia Chigna, Habitat for Humanity homeowner partners.

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 3,000 communities in 83 nations have built and sold more than 125,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages. For more information about Habitat for Humanity International, logon to our Web site at