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RISMEDIA, Feb. 27, 2008-The National Association of Realtors(R) joined politicians, clergy, educators, government agencies, housing organizations and business leaders at this weekend’s State of the Black Union, answering the symposium’s call to create an America as good as its promise.

“Homeownership is part of the American dream,” said 2008 NAR President-elect Charles McMillan.

“As the nation’s leading advocate for housing issues, NAR is committed to removing disparities in homeownership and making the face of homeownership in this country look more like America.”

McMillan helped debunk some “Myths that Create Barriers to Homeownership” as part of a panel discussion during the meeting, which was attended by approximately 4,000 people. He was joined by representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National League of Cities, Neighborhood Housing Services, and Wells Fargo Bank.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans own homes at a rate much lower than Caucasians; in the fourth quarter of 2007, 47.7% of Black households owned their own home compared with 74.9% of Non-Hispanic White households.

“Homeownership is a great financial and personal investment, and it has proven to be one of the best ways to build long-term wealth,” said McMillan. “In addition to the financial benefits, studies show that homeownership strengthens levels of educational achievement among children, increases volunteerism and political activism, and reduces community crime levels.”

NAR supports policies and initiatives that further minority homeownership and has successfully partnered with organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to help raise awareness and identify and promote solutions that address minority needs, such as foreclosure prevention, housing counseling, and homeownership preservation.

NAR also partners with real estate organizations representing African American, Latino and Asian American real estate professionals to sponsor the biennial HOPE (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) Awards. The HOPE Awards program showcases education programs, financing initiatives, pioneering leadership, and exceptional projects that help minority families achieve their homeownership dreams and encourage more innovation among real estate professionals to better serve the minority market.

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