Senate Testimony Focuses On SHOP Funding Proposal
Washington, D.C., Feb. 13 - A representative of Habitat for Humanity International testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs today. The purpose of the hearing was to examine the administration's recently announced FY 2003 budget of $31.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Witnesses at the hearing included the Honorable Mel Martinez, HUD Secretary; Sheila Crowley, President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition; and Joseph Reilly, Sr., Vice President of the JP Morgan Chase Community Development Group.
"The Members of this Committee have shown their commitment to expanding housing opportunities for families seeking to improve the quality of their lives by passing meaningful legislation and holding hearings, such as this one, to determine the appropriate level of federal spending on housing needs," said Tom Jones, managing director of HFHI's Washington Office.
Habitat for Humanity's testimony focused on the administration's request for an increase of $43 million above FY 2002 levels for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity, or SHOP, program. The SHOP program is a competitive grant program for faith-based and other community-based organizations using "sweat equity" construction to build houses in partnership with low-income families. Habitat for Humanity competes for these funds, along with other notable housing groups, such as the Housing Assistance Council and the ACORN Housing Corporation, to purchase land and infrastructure expenses. Since the inception of the SHOP program in 1996, Habitat affiliates around the country have received program funds that will "set the stage" for the building of more than 7,300 homes, changing the lives of more than 26,000 Americans.
Other remarks included in Habitat's testimony were in support of HUD's Capacity Building assistance for community-based nonprofits and for the Administration's proposal for a new tax credit for developers of affordable single-family homes. The proposed tax credit will promote homeownership opportunities among low-income and minority households by supporting the rehabilitation or new construction of homes in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods.
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 83 nations have built and sold more than 100,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.