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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. Reps Unveil Housing Plan

Reps. David Price, D-N.C., and Eva Clayton, D-N.C., joined individuals from GE Mortgage Insurance, Fannie Mae, Triangle Urban League and United Guaranty to unveil the With Ownership, Wealth initiative Monday in Durham.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation launched the WOW nationwide in April.

WOW will work with home builders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop affordable, attractive and accessible housing for blacks nationwide.

The WOW initiative plans to deliver opportunities to the community -- including a comprehensive outreach effort with home-ownership fairs, seminars and forums. One of the first events to be sponsored by WOW in North Carolina is a home-buyers fair in Rocky Mount on Oct. 27.

Additionally, WOW could forge a partnership with more than a dozen financial institutions that would offer a variety of flexible mortgage products and credit counseling to aid economically challenged families in the black community.

The national minority home-ownership rate grew four times faster than the white rate in the 1990s, yet the black home ownership rate of 46.7 percent falls far below the national rate of 67 percent.

"Home ownership represents the American dream. It's the most basic way for families to develop wealth, and a measure of personal and financial security," Price said. "It's unacceptable that African-American home ownership continues to lag behind the rates of other populations. We need to encourage home ownership for anyone who is ready to take on that responsibility, and help them to make their dreams a reality."

Clayton, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and an advocate of WOW, commended Price for his involvement in the program, calling him a "go-to person" she can rely on. She said together they plan to revamp and alter the face of communities throughout their districts.

"For many years, it has been the policy of this nation to promote home ownership. These policies and our national prosperity of the last eight years have produced today the highest levels of home ownership in our history," Clayton said. "However, for many Americans, home ownership remains a dream deferred. The WOW Initiative will help remove many of the barriers to home ownership and help bridge the huge racial divide in home ownership rates."

The WOW initiative will span 22 states and territories, covering the districts of all 37 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Clayton said WOW provides an opportunity to unite the community.

Clayton said, "WOW is a symbol of security, a symbol of family and a symbol of wealth."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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