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Linda M. Johnson, 202/383-7536
Rhonda Spears Bell, 202/861-6766
|Realtors®, Mayors Designate Cincinnati an Ambassador City for 2005|
WASHINGTON (February 17, 2005) -- The National Association of Realtors® and The United States Conference of Mayors announced today that they are designating the City of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® a 2005 Ambassador City under the organizations' Ambassadors For Cities Program. The purpose of the designation is to highlight nationally how the city and its board of Realtors have worked together to promote affordable housing through public-private partnerships.
The National Association of Realtors® and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, through its Council on the New American City, launched the Ambassadors for Cities Program in 2004 to encourage cities and local Realtor® associations to form partnerships to promote home ownership and affordable housing in their communities.
The City of Cincinnati received the designation because of its own innovative Ambassadors program, which the city and the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® began in 1997. Through this program, approximately 50 Realtors® are selected to promote housing opportunities throughout the city's neighborhoods. Since 2002 the city and the local board have held an innovative road rally in the fall to promote homeownership opportunities in the city's neighborhoods and to raise funds for a local down payment assistance program that helps first-time home buyers purchase a home. In 2004 the effort raised over $50,000.
Geoffrey Barnes, president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors®, announced at the press conference held today in City Council Chambers that this year's fundraising goal would double to $100,000. "We are extremely honored to receive this designation and plan to use it to gain even more visibility within the community about the importance of home ownership in the city," Barnes said.
Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken said the cooperation between the city and Realtors® had helped people achieve the American dream of owning their first home. "This is how we come together to promote the city. Realtors truly are ambassadors to potential new home buyers. Our partnership is making a real difference in the lives of real people who need just a little help to own their first home," the mayor said.
"The Ambassador to Cities program helps expand the relationship between mayors and the people who frequently introduce people to communities -- Realtors®," said NAR President Al Mansell, CEO of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Salt Lake City. "Through this program, Realtors® and mayors work together on affordable housing initiatives that will expand housing opportunities on a city-by-city basis. We're proud to recognize Cincinnati as a 2005 Ambassador City."
The National Association of Realtors® and the U.S. Conference of Mayors will document a series of events throughout the year in Cincinnati that promote home ownership, culminating in the road rally. "We hope that Cincinnati's innovative homeownership programs will serve as a model for mayors and Realtors in other cities to follow," said NAR's Housing Opportunity Advisory Board Chair Kit Hale.
Steve Yandell, a local resident who received assistance from last year's down payment assistance fund, told how important the program was to his ability to purchase a home in the city.
"We want to thank Mayor Luken and the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors® for their partnership that will serve as a national model and best practice for promoting home ownership," said Tom Cochran, Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Information about NAR is available at http://www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted in the Web site's "News Media" section in the NAR Media Center.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.