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December 23, 2000

Today, President Clinton will announce several new steps to provide more opportunities for housing and supportive services for thousands of Americans -- whether they are homeless, live in public or assisted housing, or seek to purchase their own homes. The President will announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding over $1 billion in grants to help more than 200,000 homeless people obtain housing and vital social services to reach self-sufficiency -- the largest amount ever in U.S. history. The President also will announce the publication of a final rule requiring Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to promote economic integration in public housing. Finally, the President will announce a 9 percent increase in the Federal Housing Administration's loan limits, to a maximum $239,250, expanding homeownership opportunities for working families throughout the nation. These announcements build on the Clinton-Gore record of promoting self-sufficiency for homeless persons and increasing home ownership in America.

NEW GRANTS TO HELP HOMELESS AMERICANS ACHEIVE SELF-SUFFICIENCY. The President today will announce over $1 billion in grants that will empower more than 200,000 homeless people to find housing and to access the services they need to achieve self-sufficiency. These grants are the product of President Clinton's Continuum of Care strategy, initiated in 1993. The goal of this strategy, which requires local public and private agencies to collaborate on creating a comprehensive plan to address the needs of poor and homeless people, is to ensure that communities respond to homelessness not simply by providing emergency assistance, but also by putting into place comprehensive and long-term approaches to help homeless people become self-sufficient. Last year, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and the Ford Foundation recognized HUD and the Continuum of Care strategy as a winner of their Innovations in American Government Award.

TAKING NEW STEPS TO INCREASE CHOICE AND OPPORTUNITY IN PUBLIC AND ASSISTED HOUSING. The President will announce the publication of a final rule requiring PHAs to promote economic integration in public housing. Also, the rule provides clarification to PHAs on what they must do to affirmatively further fair housing in their admissions policies. As a result of this rule, HUD will now require PHAs to make reasonable efforts to assure that families of various incomes and races have maximum opportunities in the public housing and voucher programs. This action builds on the Clinton-Gore Administration's previous efforts to move toward decent, safe, and affordable housing for all, securing nearly 200,000 new housing vouchers in the past three years. In addition, the Administration increased fair market rents in difficult markets to improve access for voucher holders to a larger number of rental units, and helped PHAs use some housing vouchers to expand tenant rental opportunities. The Administration also improved public housing by demolishing the worst developments and offering former tenants new housing choices, and has fought housing discrimination by increasing the number of fair housing enforcement actions.

MAKING HOMEOWNERSHIP POSSIBLE FOR MORE FAMILIES. The President will also announce the raising of the Federal Housing Administration's loan limits by 9 percent to a maximum $239,250, expanding homeownership opportunities for working families throughout the nation. This action comes at a time when the nation is celebrating the highest homeownership rates in history, 67.7 percent, exceeding the goal of 67.5 percent set by the President five years ago. Nearly ten million more families own homes today than in 1993 when the Clinton-Gore Administration began. The percentage of FHA loans to first-time home buyers has increased from 62 percent in 1992 to 82 percent in 2000. Over the same period, the percentage of loans to minorities has doubled from 22 percent to 40 percent with FHA insuring home loans for 4.3 million first-time homebuyers. Since 1993, FHA has helped 1.9 million minority families buy a home. FHA insures about forty-two percent of all home mortgages to African-American and Hispanic homebuyers. The Administration also recently finalized a rule allowing qualified working families to use housing vouchers to purchase a home.

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