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RISMEDIA, February 27, 2009- Today’s news that January home sales declined is further evidence that Congress must provide proven incentives like downpayment assistance (DPA) in order to stabilize the housing market, according to Ann Ashburn, President of AmeriDream, Inc. The National Association of Realtors announced today that existing home sales fell 5.3% to an annual rate of 4.49 million last month, from 4.74 million in December. It was the worst showing since July of 1997, according to AmeriDream.

Downpayment assistance programs funded in part by sellers expired under federal law in October 2008, despite helping one million families and individuals achieve homeownership. Eliminating these programs effectively removed 300,000 FHA qualified homebuyers from the housing market annually at a time when the economy can least afford it.

“Big decisions lay ahead for Congress and the Obama Administration,” said Ashburn. “Our leaders have an historic opportunity to stabilize our housing market by supporting H.R. 600, bipartisan legislation that will reauthorize DPA for credit-ready homebuyers. H.R. 600 will help prevent the downward spiral in home sales and home values that have devastated many neighborhoods. It will also be a sorely needed incentive for the next generation of American homeowners. We urge Congress to act swiftly on H.R. 600, and we encourage members of the public to learn how they can support H.R. 600 by visiting www.ameridream.org.”

H.R. 600, sponsored by Rep. Al Green (TX-09) would encourage sustainable homeownership by making non-profit downpayment assistance an allowable gift source for creditworthy borrowers of Federal Housing Administration loans. A broad coalition of organizations support downpayment assistance, including the National Association of Homebuilders, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

For more information, visit www.ameridream.org.

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