October 16, 2002 - Rocky Mountain News: Cape Verde RPCV Jamie de Pina buys home under new low income housing program

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 10 October 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: October 16, 2002 - Rocky Mountain News: Cape Verde RPCV Jamie de Pina buys home under new low income housing program

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, October 16, 2002 - 10:09 am: Edit Post

Cape Verde RPCV Jamie de Pina buys home under new low income housing program

Caption: Jamie and Renato de Pina recently purchased a new home with the help of Rocky Mountain Mutual Housing Association. The nonprofit group provided matching funds for a down payment as well as financial management classes. The assistance helped the couple buy a home years before they could have otherwise

Read and comment on this story from the Rocky Mountain News on Cape Verde RPCV Jamie de Pina who bought a home under a new income housing program at:

Jump-start for American dream*

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Jump-start for American dream

Program helps turn low-income families into homeowners

By John Rebchook, Rocky Mountain News
October 16, 2002

Jamie de Pina, 30, and her husband, Renato, 31, bought their first home last summer in Park Hill.

They paid $180,000 for the new two-story KB Home with about 1,600 square feet near East 35th Avenue and Dexter Street.

"It's a dream come true," said Jamie, who met her husband in Cape Verde - an island nation off the west African coast - when she was in the Peace Corps.

She and her husband, a security guard for United Parcel Service, are part of a national movement endorsed by President Bush and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to get another 5.5 million black and Hispanic families into their own homes.

That would pump another $256 billion into the economy over the next 10 years, Bush said Tuesday at a daylong White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership.

"I think that is absolutely necessary," said Jamie, who opened her house to the media, showing the dirt back yard she and her husband plan to landscape and the second bedroom upstairs that eventually will "be the baby's room."

"I do believe in what the president is trying to accomplish and I give him kudos for this," Jamie said. "I really applaud him. It's been a long time coming."

She is a youth coordinator for the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Mutual Housing Association Inc., which provided a yearlong financial services program for them.

The program matched their $1,500 down payment, and they attended classes on how to invest and save money for their house, which is five minutes from Jamie's father and grandfather.

Since Rocky Mountain Mutual began offering the program in September 2000, almost 300 people have gone through it, said Michelle Goins-Lewis, who heads the service.

The HUD-approved program allowed them to buy a home years before they would have otherwise, Jamie said.

Almost three-quarters of white American families are homeowners, but less than half of black and Hispanic families own homes.

Bush has called for boosting minority homeownership by more than 40 percent by 2010. To do so, he has proposed increased government help for 40,000 low-income families trying to scrape together a down payment to buy their first home; $2.4 billion in tax credits for developers who build or repair homes for low-income buyers; and letting federal rental assistance be used toward down payments or for mortgage payments. All the proposals are pending in Congress.

Tuesday's conference at George Washington University was designed as a forum for new ideas as well as a kick-start for the myriad government and private sector players. Federal housing officials say the president's goal is realistic but only if the mortgage industry and nonprofit organizations also keep their end of the bargain by making capital and credit more available to minorities.

Skeptics applaud Bush's intentions but question whether his proposals can realistically accomplish his goal, noting the program targets people based on income, not race. They also criticize his housing policy's focus on homeownership, arguing it should concentrate instead on the larger and more pressing need for more affordable rental housing.

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