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RISMEDIA, March 19, 2007-The National Association of Realtors(R) and the United States Conference of Mayors have announced that they are designating the city of Flint, Mich., an Ambassador City for 2006 and honoring the Flint Area Association of Realtors(R).

NAR and the mayors' conference, through its Council on the New American City, launched the Ambassadors for Cities Program in 2004 to encourage cities and local Realtor(R) associations to form partnerships to promote homeownership and affordable housing in their communities. More than 13 cities have been honored through the program and $65,000 in grants has been given to support local affordable housing initiatives.

The city of Flint's designation recognizes the joint efforts of the Flint Area Association of Realtors(R), the mayor's office, the city's Metro Housing Partnership and the Committee Concerned with Housing in creating the Greater Flint Housing Partnership. The partnership focuses on finding innovative programs and products to help close the homeownership gap among underserved communities. Members of the partnership recently developed an educational program for real estate professionals to help raise their awareness about a variety of community programs and services available to prospective home buyers. The group's goal is to hold workshops later this year and train as many as 75 Realtors(R).

Another initiative of the partnership is the Flint Area Ambassador City Summit, themed "Putting the Pieces Together." The housing summit was held Thursday at the Northbank Center in downtown Flint and brought together the real estate community, banks, neighborhood agencies and local government officials. The summit examined the critical issues affecting the real estate market and homeownership in Flint and Genesee County, explored what other cities were doing to address similar challenges and included panel discussions on what needed to be done to complete the puzzle and build a better and stronger community.

"Realtors(R) build communities and are committed to working closely with local officials and community organizations to evaluate and address issues that affect housing and homeownership," said Pat Vredevoogd Combs, NAR president from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS- Schmidt. "I'm proud to recognize Flint, in my home state of Michigan, as an Ambassador City. Successful partnerships like this one are essential to strengthening our cities and creating more housing opportunities."

At the housing summit, Realtors(R) Chris Clemans of Cape May, N.J., chair of NAR's Housing Opportunities Advisory Board, and David Ledebuhr of East Lansing, Mich., NAR regional vice president covering Ohio and Mich., presented the Ambassadors for Cities plaque to Flint Mayor Don Williamson and Dave Taljonick, president of the Flint Area Association of Realtors(R).

The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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