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Housing Industry Veterans Launch New Advocacy Organization, America's Homeowner Alliance
The mission of the Alliance is to protect and promote sustainable homeownership for all segments of America. The organization will analyze, educate, and involve the homeowners of America on major issues impacting sustainable homeownership by providing analyses and advocacy. America's Homeowner Alliance is a nonpartisan organization structured similarly to the AARP.
"In terms of public policy, America's homeowners have never had a collective voice of their own to promote their best interests," said Alliance chairman and founder Phil Bracken. "It's time to take America's homeowners off the menu and give them a seat at the table."
"My colleagues and I are thrilled to formally launch America's Homeowner Alliance today after over more than two years of planning," Bracken added. "The Alliance fills the need for representation on behalf of homeowners across the country who have never before had an advocate dedicated to their interests."
Phil Bracken is a more-than-35-year industry veteran of the housing industry. He is a recipient of the Eagle Award from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Founders Award from the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and the "Andrew Woodward Distinguished Service Award," the highest honor an individual can receive from his or her fellow members of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. Tino Diaz, former chairman of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), will serve as the Alliance's president. Former Director of the Office of Federal Housing Oversight, (OFHEO) Armando Falcon and former President of Ginnie Mae, Joe Murin, are among the Alliance's Advisory Board members.
The Alliance will provide consumer benefits in addition to policy dissemination to its dues-paying members. Member homeowners will receive access to a rewards purchasing program with more than 1,000 retail outlets, including Home Depot, Lowes and Sears. Dues are currently $20 per year.
"We will focus on examining the policies of both government and private entities so that we can serve as an 'ombudsman' for homeowners, providing protection from abusive or bad practices in the marketplace. And as an added bonus, Alliance members will have the opportunity to enjoy retail and rewards-based purchasing benefits providing discounts on everyday products that are important to homeowners," said Tino Diaz, Alliance president.
In a telephone interview, Diaz said that many elements that contribute to homeownership are under attack, including an extreme shortage of acquisition and construction financing for homebuilders; putting the federal income tax mortgage interest deduction -- which celebrates its centennial this year -- into play; a de-emphasis on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and a general disinterest on the part of government in the subject of homeownership for all classes and groups of Americans.
Asked about Canada's lack of a mortgage interest deduction and its homeownership rate comparable to the U.S., Diaz said it's an "apples and oranges comparison" to equate a country with a tenth the population of the U.S. with our nation. "Canadians have different values," he stated.
"One reason we founded AHA is that we believed that homeownership was under attack on a variety of fronts and we wanted to preserve homeownership for our children and grandchildren at a time when homeownership rates are falling in many parts of the country," Diaz added.
- Defending the Mortgage Interest Deduction
- Preserving the Low Downpayment Mortgage
- Maintaining Availability of The 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage
- Protecting Consumers from Excess Cost and Less Available Mortgage Financing
- Reducing Government Dominance of Mortgage Credit/ Encouraging More Private Capital
- Addressing the Lack of New Home Construction Lending
- Protecting Home Values
"With the support, encouragement and endorsement of individual homeowners, assistance from major consumer groups, diverse segment real estate groups and many other organizations, America's Homeowner Alliance has launched today to serve as the profound voice for sustainable homeownership and will continue to do so for years to come," concluded Bracken.
America's Homeowner Alliance has built a growing team of experts assigned to analyze legislation, regulation and business practices and advocate for public policy on behalf of all U.S. homeowners. The goal is for the Alliance's mission to serve as the litmus test for which all laws, regulations, government, and business practices will be examined. To help ensure a strong voice for homeowners in Washington D.C. and throughout America, the organization will draft policy positions and vet them through the seasoned members of its Advisory Board, as well as additional key housing industry leaders.
Of the 17 million new households expected to form in the next 15 years, approximately 13 million will consist of traditional minorities. The idea to establish an alliance to represent U.S. homeowners resulted from a common need identified by Phil Bracken and the advisory and leadership team. Although homes are currently more affordable than at any point in the past 15 years, and mortgage rates are near their lowest in history, homeownership rates are falling in every segment of the U.S. population. According to the Federal Reserve, single-family homeowners lost nearly $7 trillion in aggregate value since the peak of the housing market in 2007.
To address these challenges head-on, the Alliance will serve as the advocacy voice to protect against policies that do not meet the mission and promote sustainable homeownership for all segments of America.
The Alliance expects to attract a material share of the 75 million homeowners in the first few years.
In addition to policy advocacy, Alliance members will be able to participate in a rewards program consisting of more than 1,000 merchants providing the ability to purchase over one million household-based products. Like other rewards programs, points will be earned on every product purchased through participating merchants and can be redeemed for merchandise, travel or other benefits. Consumers can join the program by visiting the America's Homeowner Alliance website.
Stella Adams - former Exec. Director - North Carolina Fair Housing Alliance
Jerry Ascencio - Past Chairman - National Assoc. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals
Armando Falcon - former Regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Mark Goldhaber - Principal of Goldhaber Policy Services, LLC
Ed Gorman - EVP - National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Shawn Krause - EVP - Quicken Loans
Joe Murin - former President - Ginnie Mae
Lisa Rice - VP - National Fair Housing Alliance
Cy Richardson - SVP - National Urban League
Donnell Spivey - President - National Association of Real Estate Brokers
John Wong - Past Chairman - Asian Real Estate Association of America
Barry Zigas - Director Housing Policy - Consumer Federation of America
For more information about America's Homeowner Alliance, visit www.myaha.com.
America's Homeowner Alliance (the Alliance) is the first national homeowner alliance dedicated to protecting and promoting sustainable homeownership for all segments of America. Established in September 2013, the Alliance is based in St. Louis, Missouri and serves as the representative public policy voice of existing and aspiring homeowners. The Alliance is a nonpartisan organization, representing homeowners of all ethnic, income and demographic backgrounds. Additional information can be found at www.myaha.com.