PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE-PRESIDENT GORE:
Bringing Homeownership Rates to Historic Levels
"There is no more crucial building block for a strong community and a promising future than a solid home."
– President Clinton, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, July 7, 1999
Making the Dream of Homeownership a Reality
Highest Homeownership Rate in History. The Clinton-Gore
Administration is dedicated to making the dream of homeownership a reality for
all Americans. In 1995, the Administration began an unprecedented partnership
with more than 50 key public and private sector organizations to form a National
Homeownership Strategy with the goal of helping more Americans become homeowners.
The homeownership rate reached 67.2 percent in the second quarter of 2000, the
highest ever recorded. In contrast, the homeownership rate fell from
65.6 percent in the first quarter of 1981 to 63.7 percent in the first quarter
of 1993. There are almost 9 million more homeowners than in 1993. [FY
2001 Budget, p. 127; Department of Housing and Urban Development]
Lowering Interest Rates by Paying Off the National Debt. Debt
reduction brings real benefits for the American people -- a family with a home
mortgage of $100,000 might expect to save roughly $2,000 per year in mortgage
payments. Reduced debt also means lower interest rates and reduced payments
on car loans and student loans. The Clinton-Gore Administration has eliminated
the $290 billion budget deficit, produced three back to back budget surpluses
and paid off $360 billion of the national debt in the last three years. Public
debt is $2.4 trillion lower in 2000 than was projected in 1993. With
the President's plan, we are now on track to eliminate the nation's publicly
held debt by 2012.
Record Levels of Homeownership Assistance. In the early 1990s, the Federal
Housing Administration (FHA) was losing money and near bankruptcy. Today, FHA
and its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund are healthier than ever, with a March
2000 actuarial review showing that the total value of the Fund in FY 1999 was
more than $5 billion above previous estimates. FHA is one of the country's leading
providers of single family mortgage insurance. Many homebuyers are unable to
qualify for mortgages without FHA insurance. In 1999, FHA insured more than
1.3 million loans representing a record $124 billion in insurance authority
-- more insurance commitments than any other year in history. Eighty percent
of FHA loans go to first-time homebuyers and FHA insures about 40 percent of
all home mortgages to African American and Hispanic homebuyers. In January 2000,
FHA began insuring larger home mortgage loans across the country -- up to nearly
$220,000 in some areas for single-family homes. [William Apgar,
Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner, Testimony before the House
Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, 9/15/99; HUD Press Release,
Building New Homes. In February 1999, HUD, the National Association
of Home Builders, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors signed a Memorandum of Understanding
agreeing to work together to build an additional one million new homes over
the next 10 years in cities all across America.
Helping Renters Buy Their First Home. The President and Vice President
created a homeownership voucher program in 1999 that will allow 50,000 families
to use their Section 8 rental assistance vouchers to become first-time homebuyers.
Under the new program, the same HUD funds helping pay a family's rent will instead
be used for the family's monthly mortgage payments.
Providing Incentives to Save for a Home. President Clinton signed legislation
creating Individual Development Accounts, providing incentives through federal
matching funds for low-income families to save for a first home, higher education,
or to start a new business, a key part of his 1992 community empowerment agenda.
In FY 1999, $10 million was awarded to establish savings accounts for over 10,000
low-income workers in 40 communities, and an additional $10 million will be
awarded in FY 2000. The President's budget provides $25 million for IDAs to
create over 20,000 new accounts in FY 2001.
Protecting Senior Citizens from Mortgage Fraud. HUD ended a scheme by
con artists that victimized senior citizen homeowners by charging thousands
of dollars in unnecessary fees for reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages allow
older people to borrow against the value of their homes.
Doubling the Number of Fair Housing Enforcement Actions. To respond
to the increase in reported cases of serious fair housing violations, HUD has
committed $37 million to 67 fair housing centers around the country to assist
in fighting housing discrimination. In FY 2000, the President won $44 million
to fight housing discrimination, which includes $6 million to continue the audit-based
fair housing enforcement initiative started last year. The audit will include
3,000 to 5,000 tests for housing discrimination. HUD will provide funds to local
non-profit groups and enforcement agencies to monitor and act against housing
discrimination. The Clinton-Gore Administration filed 3,660 cases between 1993
and June 2000 to enforce fair housing laws -- more than any other Administration,
with double number the cases in the President's second term than in the first.
For instance, the Administration desegregated a Vidor, Texas, public housing
complex and ordered a Mississippi bank to implement remedial lending plans for
minority customers who were unfairly denied loans by the bank.
Producing More Affordable Housing for All Americans
Working to Increase the Low-Income
Housing Tax Credit. Since its creation in 1986, the Low-Income Housing Tax
Credit (LIHTC) has given states tax credits of $1.25 per capita to allocate
to developers of affordable housing. While building costs have increased 40
percent in the last decade, the amount of the credit has not been adjusted for
inflation. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have proposed to increase
the cap on the LIHTC from $1.25 per capita to $1.75 per capita — restoring the
value of the credit to its 1986 level and helping to create up to 180,000 new
low-income rental housing units over the next five years.
Creating More Affordable Housing with the HOME Program. The HOME Investment
Partnerships Program provides more than $1 billion a year to create affordable
housing for low-income households. HUD provides funds to State and local governments
to strengthen public-private partnerships and to expand the supply of decent,
safe, sanitary, and affordable housing, with primary attention to rental housing,
for very low-income and low-income families. HOME's flexibility empowers people
and communities to design and implement strategies tailored to their own needs
and priorities. As of June 2000, HOME has provided 325,547 housing units --
an average of 40,000 units a year. President Clinton's FY 2001 budget includes
$1.65 billion for this program. [Department of Housing and Urban
Development; HUD Press Release, 2/7/00]
Addressing the Problems of Homelessness. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been committed to helping homeless Americans become more self-sufficient. The Department of Housing and Urban Development alone has invested nearly $5 billion in programs to help homeless people since 1993 -- more than three times the investment of the previous Administration. The Administration's Continuum of Care approach has helped more than 300,000 homeless people get housing and jobs to become self-sufficient. The Continuum of Care made clear that homelessness was more than simply a housing problem, and focused attention on long-term solutions which included housing as well as job training, drug treatment, mental health services, and domestic violence counseling. President Clinton won a record $1.02 billion for the program in FY 2000 -- a $45 million increase from the previous year, and has proposed $1.2 billion in FY 2001. This includes $105 million for rental assistance vouchers to help the homeless move to permanent housing with supportive services. The Clinton-Gore Administration is also proposing to expand access to mainstream health, social services, and employment programs for which the homeless may be eligible through a new $10 million program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, States, and large counties. [Fred Karnas, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs Programs, HUD, Statement before the House Veteran's Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, 6/24/99]
Helping to Ensure People with HIV and AIDS Have Access to Housing. President
Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked to ensure that people with HIV and
AIDS have fair access to housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development
has established the National Office of HIV/AIDS Housing to help people with
HIV/AIDS pay for housing. Funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons
with AIDS program is more than four times larger now than in 1993. In December
1998, the Vice President announced the release of $200 million to help communities
prevent people with HIV/AIDS and their families from becoming homeless. In addition,
HUD and HHS have launched collaborative efforts to combine housing assistance,
medical and social services for people living with HIV/AIDS, including testing
outreach programs and other special efforts for people with multiple diagnosis.
In 1999, HOPWA provided housing assistance for 41,500 households and over 51,000
persons with HIV/AIDS and their families. [Department of Housing
and Urban Development]
Helping Individuals with Disabilities
Transition into Community-Based Settings. In July 2000, Vice President Gore
announced that the Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and
Urban Development will commit to a new investment, subject to appropriations,
of nearly $20 million over five years in a public-private partnership with the
National Project on Self-Determination entitled Access Housing 2000. This effort
will focus on expanding the availability of accessible, affordable housing to
individuals with disabilities who have very low incomes and who currently reside
in nursing homes, their parents' homes, and other community-based residential
programs. The project will begin with approximately 400 beneficiaries, with
a goal of reaching 2,000 persons at full implementation.
Providing Housing Assistance to Native Americans. The Native American
Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 gives Indian Housing Block
Grants to Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages or their Tribally Designated
Housing Entities, providing communities with more flexibility than ever before
to plan and develop programs that best meet locally determined needs for housing
assistance. In FY 2000, $620 million – the Administration's full request --
is available to tribes for IHBG assistance; in FY 2001, the President is requesting
Transforming Public Housing
Reforming the Public Housing System. The Clinton-Gore Administration
is implementing the most far-reaching changes in public housing in decades by
demolishing the worst housing developments, cracking down on bad management,
rewarding residents who work and cracking down on crime. President Clinton enacted
reforms in 1998 to reduce segregation in public housing by race and income,
encourage and reward work, bring more working families into public housing,
and increase the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families.
In addition, the new public housing law is helping to improve living conditions
and reduce crime in public housing.
HOPE VI: Revitalizing Public Housing. HOPE VI was developed in 1993
as a result of recommendations from the National Commission on Severely Distressed
Public Housing. The Commission recommended revitalization in three general areas:
physical improvements, management improvements, and social and community services
to address resident needs. The Clinton-Gore Administration will approve the
demolition of an unprecedented 100,000 severely distressed public housing units
by Fall 2000 and rebuild them with lower-density, townhouse-style developments
which can serve as anchors for neighborhood renewal. To date, HUD has demolished
over 47,000 units between the HOPE VI and Public Housing Capital programs. HUD
has awarded $3.54 billion in grants to spur economic development and change
the shape of 85 public housing developments nationwide.
Bringing Computers to Public Housing Neighborhoods Across the Country. The
Clinton-Gore Administration has created more than 800 Neighborhood Network learning
centers, which are innovative public/private partnerships that bring state of
the art technology to public housing across America and help people learn critical
computer skills. Neighborhood Networks throughout the nation are working with
community partners to help low-income residents bridge the digital divide, open
doors to economic and educational opportunities and improve their lives and
communities. For example, since opening in May 1996, the Versailles Arms Computer
Learning Center in New Orleans has helped more than 100 residents secure jobs
after completing computer training.
Transforming Public Housing Developments into Campus of Learners. President
Clinton's Campus of Learners Initiative provides public housing residents with
an opportunity to live in a college-like setting that is focused on learning.
The initiative will transform selected public housing projects in cities across
the nation into campuses where every resident is pursuing educational opportunities.
Public housing authorities use private- and public-sector resources to provide
job training, education, and employment opportunities public housing residents.
This initiative is part of the Clinton-Gore Administration's larger effort to
transform public housing and stimulate welfare reform.
Housing Vouchers for Hard-Pressed Working Families. President Clinton
has secured 110,000 new housing vouchers in the last two years to help welfare
recipients and hard-pressed working families move closer to job opportunities.
This year, he is proposing $690 million for 120,000 new housing vouchers to
subsidize the rents of low-income Americans and enable them to move closer to
job opportunities. Of the 120,000 new vouchers, 32,000 will be targeted to families
moving from welfare to work, 18,000 to homeless individuals and families, and
10,000 to low income families moving to new housing constructed through the
Low Income Housing Tax Credit, with the remaining 60,000 vouchers allocated
to local areas to help address the large unmet need for affordable housing.
Revitalizing Our Nation's Communities
Encouraging Investment in Underserved Communities with the New Markets Initiative.
President Clinton's New Markets Initiative will help bring economic development
and renewal to communities that have not benefited from the soaring economy
by spurring more than $22 billion in new investment in urban and rural areas.
On July 25, 2000, the House passed the President's New Markets Initiative in
a historic bipartisan agreement that included extension and expansion of Empowerment
Zones, and an increase in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The President has
taken three New Markets Tours of underserved communities, which have helped
generate more than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments.
Expanding High-Speed Internet Access. President Clinton's third New
Markets tour highlighted the importance of closing the digital divide and bringing
the benefits of technology to underserved communities. High-speed Internet access
is becoming as important to the economic vitality of a community as roads and
bridges are today, allowing people to upgrade skills using distance learning
and helping businesses communicate electronically with customers and suppliers.
The President's FY 2001 budget includes a new $25 million program at the Departments
of Commerce and Agriculture to accelerate private sector deployment of broadband
networks in under-served urban and rural communities -- using grants and loan
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development
in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has created 31 Empowerment
Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities, including 50 rural ECs, which
are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. This would
have a dramatic effect in the areas with high unemployment, weak economies,
shortages of affordable housing and other problems. The President won $70 million
in funding for Rural and Urban Empowerment Zones in FY 2000 -- after Congress
initially provided no funding. On July 25, 2000, the House passed a bipartisan
agreement that would extend and expand the incentives in the existing EZs, as
well as create nine new Round 3 Empowerment Zones. The Administration's agreement
with Speaker Hastert also includes a first-time commitment for additional funding
for Round 2 EZs.
Expanding Access to Capital through Community Development Financial Institutions
(CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI
Fund is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions
in distressed areas across the United States through grants, loans and equity
investments. In FY 1999, funding was increased 19 percent to $95 million, and
President Clinton successfully worked to maintain that investment in FY 2000.
In FY 2001, the President is proposing $125 million.
Strengthening Community Reinvestment. In November 1999, President Clinton
enacted financial modernization legislation, which also included provisions
to guarantee that our financial system will continue to meet the needs of underserved
communities. Under the law, banks cannot expand into activities such as securities
or insurance underwriting unless they can demonstrate that they are meeting
the credit needs of all the communities they serve, including low- and moderate-income
communities. The law also provides additional support for grass-roots community
development by authorizing a new Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs
(PRIME), to provide business advice to low- income microentrepreneurs. [White
House, Office of the Press Secretary, 11/12/99]
Creating Livable Communities. President Clinton and Vice President
Gore have proposed an extension of their Livable Communities initiative, which
expands the choices available to communities to ensure a high quality of life
and strong, sustainable economic growth. As part of this initiative, the Clinton-Gore
Administration has proposed record funding for public transit and other programs
to ease traffic congestion while reducing air pollution; matching grants to
help neighboring communities develop "smart growth" strategies; and
funding to provide communities with new information tools, and improve public
safety by sharing crime data. The President also proposed tax credits for
Better America Bonds, a new financing tool generating billions in bond authority
for investments by state, local and tribal governments to preserve green space,
protect water quality, and clean up abandoned toxic waste and industrial sites.
Creating New Tools to Help Families Move from Welfare to Work. Since
enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law, millions of families have moved from
welfare to work. With the President's leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act
included $3 billion to move long-term welfare recipients and low-income non-custodial
fathers into jobs. To fully implement this initiative, the President's FY 2001
budget allows grantees an additional two years to spend Welfare-to-Work funds.
It also proposes $255 million for Fathers Work/Families Win grants to promote
responsible fatherhood and support working families. The Welfare-to-Work Tax
Credit provides tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire long-term welfare
recipients. The President's Access to Jobs initiative helps communities design
innovative transportation solutions, such as van services, to help former welfare
recipients and other low-income workers get to work, and this year the President
is proposing $150 million for this initiative, double last year's level. In
addition, the President is seeking to make it easier for low-income families
to own a reliable car that can get them to work by allowing families to use
Individual Development Accounts to save for a car and by allowing states to
conform their food stamps vehicle policy with a more generous TANF vehicle policy.
Promoting Community Revitalization. Community Development Block Grants
(CDBG) promote community revitalization throughout the country, providing annual
grants to more than 900 metropolitan cities and urban counties. CDBG funds are
used for a wide range of community development activities directed toward neighborhood
revitalization, economic development, and improved community facilities and
services. Section 108 enables States and local governments participating in
the CDBG program to obtain federally guaranteed loans that can help fuel large
economic development projects and other revitalization activities. President
Clinton gave $431 million to Section 108 funds in the FY 2000 budget.
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has completed clean up at more than 525 Superfund sites, more
than three times as many as completed in the previous twelve years. Clean up
of more than 91 percent of all sites is either completed or in progress. The
Administration has leveraged nearly $1 billion in private sector investment
for Brownfields redevelopment. The Administration also signed into law the Brownfields
Tax Incentive to lower the short-term costs of brownfields clean-up.
Lowest Overall Crime Rate in 25 Years. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration,
America has experienced the longest continuous drop in crime on record. Violent
crime rate fell 7 percent in 1999 and 27 percent since 1993. The murder rate
is down more than 25 percent since 1993, its lowest point since 1967. The overall
crime rate is the lowest in 25 years. This is the eighth consecutive year serious
crime has declined nationwide. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have
put 100,000 additional police on the streets through the COPS program, and more
than 536,000 felons, fugitives and domestic abusers have been prevented from
purchasing guns through Brady background checks since the President signed the
Brady Bill into law. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform
Crime Reports for the United States 1998, 1999]
Making Our Communities Safer. In April 2000, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo
launched BuyBack America -- an unprecedented national campaign to buy back unwanted
guns and raise awareness about gun safety. Eighty-four communities have pledged
to use HUD funds to purchase tens of thousands of unwanted firearms, reducing
deaths and injuries caused by gun crimes, accidents and suicides. The buybacks
are designed to reduce the toll of gun violence that claims an estimated 30,000
lives and wounds another 100,000 people each year in the United States. Building
on this effort, the President announced a new gun buyback partnership with District
of Columbia law officials. Under the initiative -- the largest ever in D.C.
and one of the largest ever in the country -- $350,000 will be available to
purchase an estimated 7,000 guns through a local gun buyback. In addition, the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will trace all guns recovered in the