KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (June 27, 2007) — U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson will be joined by local Knoxville HUD officials, state Senator Tim Burchett, Mayor Bill Haslam and other community leaders as they commemorate National Homeownership Month. Secretary Jackson will tour October Woods, a Knoxville Habitat for Humanity subdivision, and be the guest speaker at a 10:30 a.m. press conference scheduled to be held in the subdivision on Nativity Lane.
“We are honored to host Secretary Jackson at this commemoration of National Homeownership Month,” said Kelle Shultz, executive director of Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. “It’s exciting to have him tour this subdivision which will mean homes and hope in partnership with 41 families who, thanks to local community support and HUD, will now realize the dream of homeownership. Through its Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), HUD has invested more than $697,000 in the land and infrastructure of October Woods — an investment that has been crucial to the subdivision’s development and priceless to the families who will live here.”
HUD’s theme for National Homeownership Month this year — “Promoting and Protecting Homeownership” — is designed to promote first-time homebuying, to encourage both potential and current homebuyers to learn about the responsibilities that come with homeownership, and to help consumers both read and understand the fine print of a mortgage and become aware of the dangers of predatory lending practices.
“Habitat for Humanity and HUD have been strong partners over the years, and together we’re promoting and protecting the dream of homeownership for more Americans,” said Jackson. “This project in Knoxville reflects our continuing partnership to educate families about the homebuying process and help them build a neighborhood they are proud to call home.”
In celebration of National Homeownership Month, senior HUD officials have attended Habitat for Humanity events planned throughout the month of June around the country, met with current and prospective Habitat for Humanity homebuyers and toured Habitat home sites that HUD has helped to make possible.
“There is no question that HUD is a leader in opening doors to decent and affordable housing opportunities for citizens in Knoxville and all across the country,” said Liz Blake, senior vice president of Advocacy, Government Affairs and General Counsel for Habitat for Humanity International. “More than 10,400 Habitat for Humanity families have been able to purchase homes as a result of the SHOP program. Many thanks are due to Secretary Jackson and HUD during National Homeownership Month for their commitment to low-income families and for supporting the creation of homes that will mean financial security and safe shelter for the families who will live in them.”
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 225,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .
About the Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov  and www.espanol.hud.gov .