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The Arc of Montgomery County, The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Fannie Mae and a County Coalition of Public and Private Individuals and Organizations Announce New Partnership to Bring Rental and Homeownership Opportunities to People with Mental Retar

Submitted by: Fannie Mae

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Oct 20, 2000 – 12:00 AM EST


In an effort to address the housing needs of individuals and families with special needs, The Arc of Montgomery County, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with mental retardation and related disabilities, the Kennedy Foundation, and Fannie Mae (FNM/NYSE), the nation’s largest source of financing for home mortgages, joined Douglas M. Duncan, Montgomery County executive, today to announce "Opening Doors". Opening Doors is an initiative designed to provide Montgomery County residents with mental retardation and other developmental and cognitive disabilities, options to buy or rent a home of their own. This initiative was made possible through a $78,000 grant from the Kennedy Foundation.

"I am very pleased that the Foundation is supporting this important project," said Eunice Kennedy Shriver, executive vice president of the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. "The shortage of housing for people with mental retardation is one of the biggest problems we face today, and we must meet this problem with all of our resources. My hope is that what we do for Montgomery County will provide a model for how other foundations, the business community, and organizations, such as The Arc, can effectively collaborate on solving the housing crisis for people with mental retardation."

The Opening Doors initiative was created to help meet the needs of people with mental retardation and related disabilities by assisting them in renting or owning homes; providing an in-depth orientation to people with mental retardation and their families on supportive housing opportunities utilizing Section 8 and other resources; and advocating for changes in government and private funding systems to optimize homeownership and rental opportunities for persons with mental retardation.

"This is a major initiative that will make it possible for people with disabilities to realize the dream of owning their own home. It is a direct result of our commitment to housing and creating new opportunities for people with disabilities to live independently," said Douglas M. Duncan, Montgomery County executive. "I commend The Arc, the Kennedy Foundation, and Fannie Mae for working together to provide assistance to local residents with special needs."

Through this partnership, Fannie Mae will offer its HomeChoiceSM mortgage. The HomeChoice mortgage was created to provide affordable homeownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income borrowers who have disabilities or who have disabled family members living with them. HomeChoice loans are available through Fannie Mae-approved lenders working in partnership with coalitions formed by organizations committed to addressing homeownership opportunities for people with disabilities. In the State of Maryland, Fannie Mae has helped form a coaltion with the following partners: The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Center for Community Development, and Chevy Chase Bank.

Other coalition partners include: the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services; Aging and Disabilities Services; the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities; Montgomery County InterACC/DD; the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission; Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs; Montgomery County Human Relations Commission; Jubilee Association of Maryland; Stand Together; Independence Now; the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless; the Rock Creek Foundation; the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; the Maryland Center for Community Development; the Arc of the United States; the Arc of Maryland, Inc.; the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration; the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council; and American Express Financial Advisors.

"Our support of the HomeChoice initiative allows us to help make a significant difference for an individual or family. Too often we take homeownership and our own independence for granted, " said Janet N. Maxwell, vice president of Chevy Chase Bank. "Chevy Chase understands what a difference homeownership can mean to someone’s quality of life. HomeChoice helps make the dream of owning a home a reality for persons with disabilities. "

"Fannie Mae is excited to work with The Arc, the Kennedy Foundation, and other local partners to help more Montgomery County area residents with disabilities become homeowners," said Roger Williams, Fannie Mae’s vice president of community based lending. "The HomeChoice mortgage is part of our commitment to provide affordable and flexible housing opportunities to more families in Maryland and across America."

For more information on the Opening Doors program, call Joy Savage, project director, at (301) 854-5850.

For more information on HomeChoice, or other Fannie Mae affordable mortgage products, consumers may call Fannie Mae’s Consumer Resource Center at 1-800-7FANNIE (1-800-732-6643) 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST.

For more information, please contact:

Rene Bayne Fannie Mae
Phone: (404) 398-6284
Adam Sachs Director, Community Affairs, The Arc of Montgomery County
Phone: (301) 984-5777 ext.


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