PRESS RELEASE

Housing Legislation Containing Key Capuano Amendment Passes Financial Services Committee

May 22, 2003 -- Today an amendment offered by Congressman Mike Capuano (D-MA) providing homeownership assistance to eligible municipal employees was included in H.R. 1276, "The American Dream Downpayment Act". The House Committee on Financial Services passed the legislation during a full Committee markup this afternoon.

Congressman Capuano's amendment allows local communities to offer homeownership assistance through the American Dream Downpayment Program to police officers, firefighters, teachers and other uniformed municipal employees. The American Dream Downpayment Program is a new initiative in the current HOME block grant program to provide funding for downpayment assistance to eligible communities.

Participation in the program is governed by income eligibility, however Congressman Capuano's amendment raises income limits currently in place for HOME funds from 80% of median to 115% of median for eligible municipal employees. If the HUD Secretary determines an area to be high cost, then income limits can be raised to 150% of median. Boston is designated a high cost area.

In the Boston metropolitan area, the median home price was $272,000 in 2001 compared to $156,000 nationwide. The average salary for a teacher was $49,000 and the average salary for a police officer was $46,000. In order to qualify for a mortgage on a home in the Boston area, a family must make almost $80,000 a year and provide a down payment of more than $27,000 for the average home.

"The cost of housing in Massachusetts continues to rise, often beyond the reach of many aspiring homeowners. This amendment makes it a little easier for teachers, police officers and firefighters to achieve the American Dream of homeownership," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208