March 17, 2003: Headlines: Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez: Awards: Business Wire: Director Vasquez on panel of judges for HOPE Awards

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Director Vasquez on panel of judges for HOPE Awards

Director Vasquez on panel of judges for HOPE Awards

HOPE Awards Honors Four Organizations, Two Individuals for Contributions to Minority Homeownersip

Business Editors

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 17, 2003--Four organizations and two individuals will be honored for their outstanding contributions to promote minority homeownership at the HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) gala dinner to be held at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington on May 13, 2003. Each winner will receive a $10,000 honorarium and participate in a symposium at the National Press Club that morning.
The HOPE Awards is an industry awards program created by a partnership of real estate associations: the California Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Chinese American Real Estate Professionals Association, the Chinese Real Estate Association of America, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the National Association of Realtors(r).
Cosponsoring organizations for the 2003 HOPE Awards include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,, REBAC, and Habitat For Humanity.
A panel of distinguished judges including Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Congressman John L. Lewis (D-Ga.), Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; Gaddi H. Vasquez, director of the Peace Corps; and F. Barton Harvey III, chairman and CEO of the Enterprise Foundation made the final selection of winners from more than 150 nominations. Winners were selected on the basis of impact, innovation, minority focus, contributions to affordable housing, and minority acceptance.

Winners of the 2003 HOPE Awards are:


Emily Moerdomo Fu of RE/MAX Greater Atlanta International. Minority homeownership always has been the focus of Emily Fu's company, which she located in Atlanta's Asian Square Shopping Center, where the Asian and Hispanic communities come together. Her staff speaks 16 different languages and comes from 19 different cultural backgrounds. The brokerage provides a full array of services and since 1990 has helped thousands of minority families close on their first homes. Fu has been an advocate for minority homeownership in the community by providing weekly educational meetings on housing and finance. She chairs the Cultural Diversity Division of the Dekalb Board of Realtors(r) and is a past chair of the International Real Estate Council of Georgia. "Mrs. Fu is working for a better Dekalb County and understanding through all its citizens," said a recent proclamation by the county.


Pratt Area Community Council of Brooklyn, N.Y. Many first-time minority homebuyers in the predominantly African American communities of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant have minimal cash reserves, little understanding of the banking industry and live in areas underserved by conventional lenders. PACC, which has worked for over 38 years to improve the quality of life for local residents, designed its Homebuyer Education Program to respond to these specific needs. For example, most of PACC's clients have overextended credit and need training in financial literacy. Last year 261 prospective homebuyers attended the Council's five-week financial literacy workshop series to help work towards financial independence. PACC's Homebuyer Workshop Series attracts 50 people per session and provides a complete understanding of the home buying process. At the monthly Homebuyer Breakfast Club, recent graduates share their home buying experiences with program participants. PACC's program specifically addresses the problem of predatory lending by emphasizing the importance of hiring and utilizing professionals and steering clear of those who pressure buyers into hasty decisions.


Mission of Peace Housing Counseling Agency of Flint, Mich. Founded in 1997, the Mission of Peace Counseling Agency offers a broad range of programs that work together to break down barriers to homeownership, counseling over 4,000 people in 2001-2002. These programs include Individual Development Accounts, an innovative three-to-one savings matching plan that helps potential homebuyers obtain a downpayment. In 2001, Mission of Peace became Fannie Mae's first faith-based partner in the state of Michigan. The loan experiment resulting from that partnership has been extraordinarily successful. Mission of Peace offers flexible qualifiers to potential homebuyers and is also available for refinancing. Starting with just $3 million in May 2001, the program has grown to $20 million in a little over a year. Mission of Peace loans are available through Republic Bank, First Third Bank, Chemical Bank, Flagstar and Citizens Bank throughout the state of Michigan.


Suffolk Homes by Asian Americans for Equality of New York, N.Y. Suffolk Homes created the first new affordable homes in more than 30 years in Lower East Side-Chinatown-a historic entry point for immigrants. Suffolk Homes, a 48-unit condominium project, was developed through a partnership between AAFE and Phoenix Builders, a minority-owned construction firm. Seeking to increase the asset base of local residents who were being pushed out of the area by high rents, AAFE worked with the city's New Homes program to obtain subsidized financing to make the purchase price affordable to the working poor of the neighborhood. The completed project is a stable anchor for the block and is occupied by a diverse representation of the community, with 75 percent of homeowners being members of Asian-, Hispanic- and African-American minority groups. As the area recovers from the World Trade Center disaster, Suffolk Homes is a model for future projects that can prevent the displacement of long time residents, many of whom are minorities.


National Fair Housing Alliance of Washington, D.C. The National Fair Housing Alliance is the only national civil rights organization whose primary mission is to end housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity throughout the United States. It has developed a national education campaign to address racial steering in real estate markets, producing advertisements in both English and Spanish. The NFHA's partnership with the Ad Council generated $50 million in media time and produced more than a half million hits to the NFHA Web site. The NFHA was the first national group to challenge the underwriting guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to work with them to establish guidelines that opened up mortgage opportunities for minorities. It worked with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to limit incentives for predatory lending-abusive lending practices targeted particularly at minority homeowners and their communities. The Alliance also was instrumental in changing the way homeowners' insurance is underwritten and sold, making quality products available to African American and Hispanic homeowners.


Reverend James Dickerson of Manna Inc. of Washington, D.C. Jim Dickerson founded Manna Inc. in 1982 to developed quality affordable homeownership opportunities for the residents of Shaw and Columbia Heights, neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly low-income and African American. He created the Manna Homebuyers Club, which has educated 2,000 first time homebuyers, and he is now reaching out to very low-income buyers through the Individual Development Account program, a matched downpayment savings program. In 20 years, Manna Inc. has renovated or built more than 550 homes for low and moderate income families in Washington. Those who have purchased Manna homes-all at-risk buyers with low downpayments and less than perfect credit histories-have experienced a foreclosure rate of only 1.45 percent compared to a national rate of approximately 10 percent among at-risk buyers.
Reverend Dickerson and Manna Inc. have helped to transform Shaw from a drug-infested neighborhood pockmarked by abandoned buildings to a thriving and revitalized inner city community. For his achievements, Jim Dickerson has won the thanks of hundreds of minority homebuyers and the admiration of the nation's housing community.

The HOPE Awards, which is held every other year, recognizes individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions to promote minority homeownership. The first HOPE Awards honored the California Capital Companies, Ontario, Calif. (brokerage award); the Home Loan Counseling Center/Sacramento, Sacramento, Calif. (education award); the Self Help Credit Union, Durham, N.C. (finance award); the Northeast Florida Builders Association, Jacksonville, Fla. (project of the year); the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors(r), Lutherville, Md. (public policy award); Vincent Quayle, St. Ambrose Center, Baltimore (leadership award); and ARK Communication, Millbrae, Calif., (media award).

For more information about the HOPE Awards or tickets to the gala, visit or contact Wendy Harper at 202-383-1192.

When this story was posted in October 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: Business Wire

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez; Awards



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