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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 27, 1999
                       NEW HOME OWNERSHIP GRANTS
     Also Highlights Highest Home Ownership Rate in American History,
               Praises HUD Secretary Cuomo's Leadership

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore highlighted that a record number of Americans owned their own homes in 1998 and that now is the time to take additional steps -- today the federal government will provide over $21 million in grants to 74 locally owned public/private partnerships to enable families in distressed communities across the nation become first-time homeowners.

Today, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced that the nation's homeownership rate hit a record high in 1998, climbing to 66.3 percent -- its highest level in the history of our country. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, more than 7 million Americans have bought a first home.

"For millions of Americans the surest sign of the American dream is homeownership. For too long, though, sky-high interest rates caused by sky-high deficits made homeownership a dream deferred," Vice President Gore said. "Today, for more Americans than ever before, the American dream of homeownership is a dream fulfilled."

"As a result of President's Clinton's policies, home ownership has been transformed from an impossible dream into a beautiful reality for millions of people," HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo said.

To help more Americans buy homes, the Vice President announced that the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, supported by President Clinton and Vice President Gore and funded by Congress, will provide more than $21 million in grants to their NeighborWorks network to help 14,000 low- and moderate-income families who have a good rent paying history become homeowners. These families are located in over 500 distressed communities across the country.

"President Clinton and I have always believed that opportunity and responsibility go hand-in-hand. That is why I am pleased that we are making the opportunity of homeownership a reality for 14,000 families who have been responsible citizens," the Vice President said. "For these families, the NeighborWorks network will be their bridge to homeownership -- helping them navigate the home buying process with homeownership counseling and financing."

Last year, President Clinton and Vice President Gore proposed a $25 million increase for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to expand their NeighborWorks Campaign for Home Ownership 2002. These increased funds -- which were approved by Congress -- are significantly leveraged by the NeighborWorks network and their private- and public-sector partners to extend the benefits of homeownership to an additional 14,000 low- and moderate-income working households who have paid their rent on time. Over the next five years, the NeighborWorks Campaign for Home Ownership 2002 will help 35,000 low- and moderate-income families achieve homeownership, will counsel 270,000 prospective home buyers, and generate $2.5 billion of investments in undeserved communities.