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Americans Cite Affordable Housing as High Priority, NAR Joins Coalition to Kick Off National Campaign

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RISMEDIA, March 23, 2007-Nine out of 10 Americans agree that providing affordable housing in their communities is important. Fewer than half of all Americans, however, believe that the nation's current housing policy is on the right track to meet the nation's housing needs, according to a new poll released today by a coalition of public, private and nonprofit industry groups, including the National Association of Realtors(R).

The poll results were announced to introduce "Housing America 2007," a national affordable housing awareness campaign conceived by the country's leading housing industry advocates. The campaign aims to inform and educate decision makers and the general public about the state of the nation's housing, reestablish housing as a national priority and promote the sustainable development of affordable housing so that every community can provide its citizens with a wide range of housing opportunities.

"One-third of Americans say having a decent, affordable place to live is their number one priority," said NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS-Schmidt. "As the first choice for consumers buying a home, Realtors are in a unique position to advocate for effective solutions to today's housing needs. By participating in Housing America 2007, Realtors are strengthening their commitment to building communities by working to solve the critical issues associated with housing affordability."

The poll also found that Americans want the government to more actively address affordability issues. In fact, 75% of survey respondents said that presidential candidates' ideas for creating more affordable housing were important in determining for whom they would vote. Nearly seven in 10 said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who articulated a detailed plan to provide affordable housing.

For two weeks, through April 9, Housing America 2007 participants and other affordable housing advocates across the country will sponsor activities that highlight the critical need for affordable housing programs, policies and resources.

"NAR is encouraging the nation's 1.3 million Realtors to help eliminate barriers to affordable housing and become aggressive advocates for housing opportunity programs in their states and local communities," said Realtor Iona Harrison of Realty Executives Main Street in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and past chair of NAR's Housing Opportunity Advisory Board. "We hope that Realtors across the country can get involved and send a letter to their legislator's office, partner with local housing organizations or contribute to groups that support affordable housing — not just for the next two weeks, but throughout the year."

NAR's Housing Opportunity Program, which helps Realtor associations create housing opportunity initiatives, will soon launch a new database compiling more than 600 examples of successful affordable housing activities and programs created by local and state Realtor associations. The database will be a valuable tool for Realtors and will include ideas on how to promote housing opportunities for both renters and homeowners and get involved with affordable housing initiatives in their local communities. The number of programs contained in the database reflects the ongoing commitment by state and local Realtor associations to aggressively advocate a full range of viable housing opportunities. NAR anticipates that Realtor involvement during the next two weeks of the campaign will help to further expand the number of programs in the database.

Housing America 2007 participants are the National Association of Realtors; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Housing Assistance Council; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Mortgage Bankers Association; National Association of Counties; National Association of Home Builders; National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; National Council of State Housing Agencies; National Housing Conference; National League of Cities; National Low Income Housing Coalition and U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The poll of 1,205 adults was conducted by telephone from March 7-9, 2007, by Zogby America.

For more information, visit http://www.REALTOR.org.

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