Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HOPE Award Winners Remove Barriers to Minority Homeownership

WASHINGTON (April 21, 2009) – This year’s HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) winners exemplify the efforts of countless individuals and organizations across the country committed to closing the minority housing gap. Award recipients are selected for their outstanding leadership and achievement in helping minority families realize and sustain their homeownership dreams, forever enhancing and changing their lives.
The 2009 HOPE Awards winners are the Korean Churches for Community Development, Los Angeles (Education Award); Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Springfield, Ill. (Finance Award); Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Durham, N.C. (Media Award); Chris McCarthy, Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity (Leadership Award); and Affordable Homes of South Texas Inc., McAllen, Texas (Project of the Year Award).



HOPE Awards winners receive $10,000 and a $1,500 gift card from cosponsor Lowe’s. On May 12 the winners will present their programs and answer questions from journalists and industry experts at a symposium moderated by national real estate columnist Ken Harney. Later that evening, HOPE Awards winners will be recognized at a gala dinner and ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Sachi Koto, former anchor of CNN Headline News, will emcee the event.



The HOPE Awards is a national industry awards program that was created in 2001 to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing minority homeownership, revitalizing communities and expanding affordable housing opportunities. The awards are conferred every other year.



The HOPE Awards is sponsored by a partnership of real estate organizations: the Asian Real Estate Association America, Chinese American Real Estate Professionals Association, Chinese Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and the National Association of Realtors®.


A panel of distinguished judges selected the final winners from more than 100 applications. The judges were Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.); Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; Steven Nesmith, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and partner, Holland & Knight; Judge Lillian K. Sing, San Francisco Superior Court.
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HOPE Award Winners – add 1

Award winners were chosen based on impact, innovation, minority focus, contributions to affordable housing and minority acceptance. The 2009 HOPE Awards winners are:



EDUCATION AWARD



Korean Churches for Community Development, Hyepin Im, Los Angeles
KCCD was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit faith-based organization that serves as a bridge between the Asian American community and the greater community. The goal is to increase access to resources and funds to assist low income individuals and revitalize area neighborhoods.




The organization does this by helping remove cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers through education, economic development programs and strategic public and private partnerships. KCCD has provided homebuyer education and counseling to more than 4,500 individuals and is helping to sustain homeownership in the L.A. area through foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation counseling.

FINANCE AWARD
Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Robin Benson, Springfield, Ill.
IATP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of life. The organization also oversees the Homeownership Coalition for People with Disabilities, which since 2002 has helped more than 300 people with disabilities and their families achieve greater levels of independence through homeownership.




The group is committed to assisting all people, regardless of their disability, in purchasing and maintaining their own home through comprehensive pre- and post-purchase support, allowing them to live in the community as independently as possible. The program boasts a foreclosure rate of less than 1 percent.

LEADERSHIP AWARD
Chris McCarthy, Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, Nashville, Tenn.
Chris retired from a career in accounting in 2000, only to come out of retirement a few years later to take over as CEO of the NAHFH. Under Chris’s leadership, NAHFH has grown tremendously in recent years –from building 10 to 15 homes each year to upwards of 55 homes. NAHFH has been recognized in the top 1 percent of the nation’s Habitat affiliates and received the EPA’s Energy Star certification, the first Habitat affiliate to receive this award. In 2007, Chris led the development of one of the largest all-Habitat neighborhoods in the U.S.; the 43-acre community has 138 homes as well as play lots, walking trails and picnic facilities. Chris is now leading the construction of a second community, with a potential of 112 more homes.

MEDIA AWARD
Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Peter Skillern, Durham, N.C.
CRA-NC created Nuestro Barrio, a Spanish-language miniseries about Hispanic life in the U.S. While Nuestro Barrio’s objective is to educate viewers, the telenovela, or soap opera format, helps engage and entertain viewers on a variety of issues including homeownership, finances and banking, and health and wellness. The program has been broadcast to more than 25 million households, and more than 60,000 DVDs have been distributed through high schools, financial institutions and nonprofit partners.

PROJECT OF THE YEAR
Affordable Homes of South Texas Inc., Robert Calvillo, McAllen, Texas
AHSTI is a nonprofit housing initiative that provides education and homeownership opportunities to low income residents in South Texas. AHSTI acts as land developer, general contractor and a full-service mortgage provider. Since 1976 the organization has placed more than 2,800 families into homes, nearly 40 percent of those were single parent families.

Cosponsors for the 2009 HOPE Awards are Lowe’s, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, Realogy, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, NRT LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty.
For more information about the HOPE Awards, visit http://www.hopeawards.org/.
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