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Credit repair: The truth about what can and cannot be done

National Mortgage Professional
Jun 12, 2006

Bush administration proposes $33.6 billion HUD budgetMortgagePress.comHUD Expanding programs to increase homeownership, provide rental assistance and assist the homeless are among the highlights of President Bush's proposed fiscal year 2007 budget, unveiled on Feb. 6 by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson. Jackson said the $33.6 billion spending blueprint will support the department's core priorities, while expanding the administration's efforts toward establishing an ownership society and caring for those who might otherwise be living on the streets. "The president's proposed budget is a real investment in building a society based on ownership and reaching out to those people and places in need, to make sure every American has a place to call home," said Jackson. "This budget places a premium on demonstrating results and allows HUD to sustain our core programs that are built on compassion, while we continue to improve the way we serve communities around this country." Promoting economic opportunity and ownership More Americans, including more minority families, own their own homes than ever before. In June 2002, President Bush challenged the nation to increase the number of minority homeowners to 5.5 million by the end of this decade. Since the president issued his challenge, 2.4 million minority families have joined the ranks of homeowners. The 2007 budget includes increases to several programs that advance the president's goal of creating an ownership society. HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) HOME is the largest federal block grant program dedicated to creating affordable housing for low-income families. The administration proposed $1.9 billion for the HOME program in 2007, an increase of $123 million from this year. Each HOME dollar allocated to a local jurisdiction has traditionally stimulated more than three dollars from other public and private sources. American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) The 2007 budget provides $100 million to help first-time homebuyers overcome the biggest obstacles to homeownership: down payments and closing costs. Since President Bush signed this initiative into law, ADDI has helped nearly 14,000 families purchase their first homes, almost half of who are minority families. Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) The proposed budget provides $40 million for HUD's SHOP, which allows low-income families to purchase their first homes through their own sweat equity. Any individual who benefits from SHOP funds must contribute at least 100 hours of his own labor to help make a house his home. The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) CDBG will be funded at a proposed $3 billion. In addition, the 2007 budget proposes to reform the CDBG program in order to more effectively contribute to local community and economic progress. Formula changes will be proposed to direct more of the program's base funding to communities that cannot meet their own needs. Bonus funds will be available to communities that demonstrate the greatest progress in expanding homeownership and opportunity for their residents. Housing counseling The proposed budget requests $45 million (a $3 million increase), to support hundreds of housing counseling programs across the country. These counseling programs prepare families for buying their first homes, help them steer clear of predatory lending practices and help prevent current homeowners from defaulting. Housing counseling is the most cost-effective way to educate renters and homeowners so that they make informed financial choices and avoid high-risk, high-cost loans that place them at greater risk of foreclosure. Continuum of Care The president is proposing a record level of funding to house and serve homeless persons and families. The 2007 budget provides $1.5 billion through HUD's Continuum of Care homeless assistance grants, $209 million more than in 2006. This funding will provide emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing to more than 160,000 persons. Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) The budget seeks $300 million to support stable housing, improved access to health care and more supportive services for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS, an increase of $14 million over fiscal year 2006. Through formula grants to states and local communities and competitively awarded grants, these resources will provide critically needed housing assistance to more than 75,000 families. Rental assistance for low-income housing The 2007 HUD budget proposes a $502 million increase in funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This significant increase to the voucher program, in addition to a $639 million increase to Section 8 Project-based rental assistance, will allow HUD to renew all existing rental housing assistance contracts with an opportunity to help even more low-income families to afford decent rental housing. HUD estimates that when combined, these two programs will help 3.4 million American families afford a decent home. Fair housing In order to meet President Bush's goal of increasing minority homeownership, it is critical that every American has access to housing of his choice, free from discrimination. For fiscal year 2007, the budget includes $45 million to support enforcement, education and outreach efforts, to combat illegal discrimination across the country. This requested amount also supports HUD's ongoing efforts to ensure displaced families from the Gulf Coast hurricanes are not further victimized by those who would deny them housing based on their races, religions, sexes, family statuses and disabilities. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.
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