A top Bush administration official visited eastern Iowa today, touting a new initiative designed to enable more minorities to become homeowners. It’s called SHOP, for Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program. U-S Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez was in Cedar Rapids to announce SHOP would spend 22-million dollars helping two-thousand families nationwide become homeowners.Only about six in every hundred Iowans are minorities. Of Iowa’s population of nearly three-million people, nearly three-percent are Hispanic, about two-percent are black, and around one-and-a-half percent are Asian and other minorities. While most Iowans are white, HUD figures show 73-percent of all whites in Iowa own their own homes, but only 27-percent of Iowa’s minorities are homeowners. Secretary Martinez says the SHOP program will change those numbers.Martinez made the announcement in Cedar Rapids at the Osada Apartments, a complex of “financially sensible apartments” in an historic warehouse. The project was refurbished by the MidAmerica Housing Partnership, which has built or rehabilitated more than 80 single-family homes and 469 multifamily units statewide.
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