Thank you Mr. Chairman,
I want to thank you and Ranking Member Sarbanes for agreeing to hold this hearing on expanding homeownership opportunities. Increasing homeownership is one of the best ways to help both families and our economy.
This hearing will highlight many statistics with regard to the barriers, needs and status of homeownership in America. However, I believe there is one statistic that truly stands out. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own their own homes. Among white households about seventy-four percent own their own homes; however, minority households average far worse at about forty-seven percent. That is a stunning difference and highlights where our efforts should be focused.
I cannot say enough good things about the positive results that homeownership provides for families. Households that own their own homes have been proven to provide a more stable environment for their children. These children are more apt to do better in school and to become more involved in the community. These families are able to build wealth - many for the first time, thereby helping to secure retirement needs or pay for higher education. Families who own their own homes are more likely to spend the money necessary to properly maintain the home. These positive results have a ripple effect and impact the rest of the community and the economy.
The President and Secretary Martinez are to be applauded for recognizing the importance of homeownership and working to reduce the barriers which have kept many families from realizing this dream. One such proposal before this committee is the American Dream Downpayment Initiative. This proposal focuses on the difficulties families have in saving enough money for the downpayment on a home. This proposal has my full support, and I look forward to voting for it in this committee and on the Senate floor. It is my hope that we can all work together to move this important legislation as soon as possible.
There are many other barriers to homeownership and many other problems that families face after they purchase their first home. I hope to discuss these issues with our witnesses today and I look forward to working with you all to expand homeownership opportunities.