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Houston Named Ambassador City for Increasing Affordable Housing, Revitalizing the Community

WASHINGTON, April 21, 2009 The National Association of Realtors® and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have named Houston a 2009 Ambassador City for its Houston HOPE Homes program, an initiative to reinvest in some of Houston’s historic neighborhoods with housing development and infrastructure improvements.

The Houston HOPE Homes is a program of the city of Houston. The city has identified hundreds of vacant or foreclosed properties in nine historic neighborhoods that are currently undergoing revitalization. Those properties are sold to area homebuilders who are committed to building quality, affordable single and multifamily housing. To help residents purchase the newly built homes, the city has also established a downpayment assistance program. Low- and moderate-income individuals who qualify can receive up to $37,500; Houston police officers, firefighters, and teachers can qualify for nearly $40,000.

“Realtors® build communities and are committed to helping increase opportunities for more families to achieve and sustain the American dream of homeownership,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “A program like Houston HOPE Homes deserves to be recognized for its tremendous impact on bringing stability to and enhancing the appearance of Houston’s historic neighborhoods.”

The Houston Association of Realtors® has partnered with the city of Houston to increase Realtor® and consumer awareness of the program. HAR also created a map-based search engine to help individuals easily search and locate homes for sale through the Houston HOPE Homes program. The search engine is available on both the Houston HOPE Web site, www.houstontx.gov/houstonhope, and the HAR Web site, www.har.com.

At an event yesterday, McMillan and 2009 NAR Housing Opportunity Committee Chair Len Ferber joined Dave Gatton, Council on the New American City, in presenting the Ambassador for Cities plaque and $5,000 check to Houston Mayor Bill White and HAR 2009 Chair of the Board Vicki Fullerton.

NAR and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, through its Council on the New American City, launched the Ambassadors for Cities program in 2003 to encourage cities and local Realtor® associations to form partnerships to promote affordable housing and homeownership.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®