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2007 HOPE Awards Honors Outstanding Contributions to Improve Minority Homeownership

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RISMEDIA, April 12, 2007- The HOPE Awards is a national industry awards program that recognizes individuals and organizations that are making outstanding contributions to increase minority homeownership in America. A New Orleans parish church that convinced utilities to restore power to a Vietnamese neighborhood in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a Native American housing authority that teaches tribal members about credit, and a builder that has built housing for minority foster parents are three of the six outstanding programs and individuals who have won the fourth annual HOPE (Homeownership Participation for Everyone) Awards.

Other HOPE winners are an executive with 25 years' experience in developing housing for people from all walks of life, a state agency that provides down payment assistance as well as low cost financing, and a mortgage broker who helps Spanish-speaking home buyers overcome the barriers to homeownership.

Created in 2001 by a partnership of six real estate organizations, the HOPE Awards are granted every other year. Each winner receives a $10,000 honorarium. The 2007 HOPE Awards winners will be honored at a symposium keynoted by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson and at a gala dinner Tuesday, May 15, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., hosted by James Brown of CNN News.

The 2007 HOPE Awards winners are:

BROKERAGE AWARD

Berenice Gomez, Harvest Home Mortgage, Melville, N.Y.

In 2004, Gomez established Harvest Home Mortgage to address the language obstacles many of her clients faced. HHM helps Spanish- and English-speaking home buyers who have misconceptions about purchasing a home, have poor credit histories or are intimidated by the complexities of obtaining a home loan. Gomez's philosophy is to educate the client first, because an educated consumer is a confident client.

EDUCATION AWARD

Pamela Ranslam, Schofield of Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority, Pendleton, Ore.

The Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority developed an enlightening multifaceted homeownership program called "Wapayatat," meaning "to learn or to teach" in the Umatilla language. URHA teaches long-term asset building through self-sufficiency to help tribal members learn about savings, budgeting, credit reports, interest rates and predatory lending.

FINANCE AWARD

Colorado Housing Assistance Corp.

The Colorado Housing Assistance Corp. offers loan programs and supportive financial counseling to help Colorado families turn homeownership dreams into reality. CHAC has helped more than 325 participants fulfill their homeownership dreams. Potential homeowners served by CHAC typically earn less than 60% of the area median income. Under the CHAC program, borrowers are provided 3%, fixed-interest 30-year loans and $19,500 in down payment assistance that they do not have to pay back unless they sell, refinance or rent the property.

LEADERSHIP AWARD

Chickie Grayson, Enterprise Homes Inc., Baltimore

Grayson has more than 25 years' experience in developing housing for people from all walks of life. As president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Homes Inc., she has established a reputation for building high-quality, mixed-income communities and providing workforce homeownership opportunities. Under her leadership, Enterprise has built a very successful track record for large-scale master planning, undertaking and completing complicated mixed-income housing developments in both suburban and urban areas in the mid-Atlantic region.

PROJECT OF THE YEAR

William Linder, New Community Corp., Newark, N.J.

The desperate need for affordable and livable housing in Newark's Central Ward motivated residents to organize New Community Corp. in 1968. Today its assets are valued at more than $500 million, and its programs and services touch the lives of 50,000 Newark and Essex County residents every day. Through an innovative partnership with the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services, NCC set aside 40 three-bedroom townhomes in Community Hills for minority foster parents. Those who qualify based on income can purchase the townhomes for $25,000-the average selling price
of a Community Hills home is about $50,000. The total housing-related costs, including mortgage payments, real estate taxes, insurance and utilities, cannot exceed 25% to 35% of a family's annual income.

PUBLIC POLICY AWARD

Father Nguyen The Vien, Mary Queen of Vietnam Church, New Orleans

Throughout the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding process in New Orleans, Fr. Vien advocated that basic services be reinstated to ensure the community's voice was heard. Fr. Vien organized residents and collected 500 signatures to negotiate with local utility companies to restore power and water in his neighborhood.

A panel of distinguished judges including Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.); Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; Steven Nesmith, principal, Blank Rome Government Relations and former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Judge Lillian K. Sing, San Francisco Superior Court; and Earl
Lee, president of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates Inc., selected the final winners from more than 175 nominations. Winners were chosen based on impact, innovation, minority focus, contributions to affordable housing and minority acceptance.

The HOPE Awards is an industry awards program created by a partnership of real estate associations: the Asian Real Estate Association America, 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 Inc., and the National Association of Realtors (R).

Cosponsors for the 2007 HOPE Awards include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Realogy, ERA, Coldwell Banker, and Century 21.

The HOPE Awards are held every two years to recognize individuals and organizations that make outstanding contributions to increasing minority homeownership.

For more information, visit http://hopeawards.org.

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