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RISMEDIA, Oct. 2, 2007-Scott Syphax, president and CEO of Nehemiah Corporation of America, one of the largest and oldest providers of private downpayment assistance, will host a media teleconference on October 2, 2007 at 1:00 PM EDT to discuss HUD’s rule banning private downpayment assistance and what it could mean for the future of home buying and financing.

The teleconference will address the immediate effects of the move to dismantle these programs, what the industry needs to know in order to navigate through their continued use in the coming months, and the ongoing battle to preserve private downpayment assistance.

Of note, due to an earlier settlement, Nehemiah was granted a six-month exemption from the HUD rule, enabling the organization to continue to issue gifts for another six months. During this period, Nehemiah will continue the fight against the disbanding of privately-funded downpayment assistance programs, initiating with a lawsuit filed in Federal Court on October 1, 2007.

The following statement was issued by Scott Syphax, President and CEO of Nehemiah Corporation of America in response to HUD’s unilateral decision, despite widespread Congressional and popular support, to promulgate its rule to ban privately-funded downpayment assistance programs effective November 1, 2007. According to the company, Nehemiah is the oldest and largest privately-funded down payment assistance provider, and to date has provided gifts to almost one-quarter of a million families, enabling each of them to become a homeowner.

“HUD’s action to move forward with banning privately-funded downpayment assistance programs is outrageous and we have responded by filing a lawsuit in Federal Court yesterday to challenge the merits of HUD’s damaging rule and to seek an injunction blocking implementation of this rule. It is inconceivable that HUD has taken this action in complete disregard for the House’s passage of legislation that would block it, driven by strong bipartisan support from House Financial Services Sub-Committee on Housing Opportunity Chair Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California) and fellow committee member Congressman Gary Miller (R-California). To date, privately-funded downpayment assistance programs have helped over 600,000 families become homeowners, and have been credited not only for helping people buy homes, but also stabilizing neighborhoods and cities and creating stronger families. As evidenced by the over 15,000 letters sent in opposition to HUD by families across the country, programs like the Nehemiah Program continue to be a lifeline for families working to reach the dream of homeownership. Further, broad opposition to this proposal by groups including the National Association of Home Builders, the Mortgage Bankers Association, the US Council of Mayors, and National Association of Counties speak to the validity and importance of seller-funded downpayment assistance programs. We remain hopeful that the legislative process reaches a successful conclusion.”

Pursuant to an April 1998 settlement agreement resolving litigation between Nehemiah and HUD, the rule will go into effect six months after the date of its publication for the Nehemiah downpayment assistance program. During the six-month exemption period, Nehemiah will continue to provide families in need with important downpayment assistance and lead the fight against HUD’s rule.