The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 1, 2008

President Bush Participates in Roundtable on Housing Counseling
Family Service Agency
North Little Rock, Arkansas

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     Fact sheet Fact Sheet: Helping Responsible Homeowners Across America

3:48 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for having us. We're here at the Family Service Agency here in Little Rock to discuss ways to help people either buy a home for the first time or stay in a home.

Before I say a few words about how the government can help people stay in their home, I do want to thank Charles and your team of counselors who are here. Thank you for your briefing; I thought it was very thorough and understandable. I do want to thank the Secretary of HUD for joining us, as well as Congressman Boozman. I really appreciate your time.

President George W. Bush holds the hand of Patty Couch during a roundtable discussion on Housing Counseling, Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at Family Service Agency Inc. in North Little Rock, Arkansas. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian And I want to thank Caroline, first time homebuyer -- or, she went to the first time home-buyers program in Jacksonville, Arkansas -- and Patty, from Conway, Arkansas.

One of the problems we have when it comes to buying a home is that there's a lot of fine print and people get worried about it. So these counselors have helped simplify the process. And one of the great challenges now is how to help creditworthy people stay in their homes. Because we got some people who are -- just with some little help, some advice and some counseling will be able to figure out a way to stay in the home. It's in our national interest we do so. That's what Patty bought -- she had a home and was very worried about being able to stay in it; got some good advice from Sue and [is] now in the home. And this has happened all across America, by the way. There's some good programs coming out of Washington, all aimed at saying to the American citizen, if you are worried about staying in your home, contact a counseling service, we'll help you -- "we" being the collective group of people there in this business, after all, this is a HUD-funded counseling program; you receive some money from HUD for your counseling.

Congress can help, when they come back, to pass a good piece of housing legislation that modernizes the FHA and reforms these GSEs. And I think we can get us a bill. But it's going to require less politics and more focus on keeping our minds on who we need to help -- and that's the homeowner.

And so I do want to thank you very much for having us. This is an issue on people's minds. It's an issue where there is good help to be had. And so if people are looking for help here in Arkansas, it's a good place to turn to -- Family Services. And there are other places around the country where people can get help, where there's experts that are helping refinance their mortgages or work with their mortgage companies to help you stay in their homes. It's in our interest that more people stay in their homes during this period of uncertainty.

I'm confident in the long run America is going to be just fine. We're a country that has overcome challenges before -- and we've got some challenges: high gasoline prices, we've got some challenges in the housing industry. We know the way forward in housing -- good legislation and helping people stay in their homes. And the truth of the matter is we know the way forward when it comes to energy. We depending too much on energy from overseas; we ought to be finding more energy here at home. If people want their gasoline prices down, let's find energy here in America. And there's plenty of energy to be had.

At any rate, thank you all for your time. I enjoyed it.

END 3:52 P.M. CDT

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