July 02, 2008 23:38 ET

International Real Estate Federation Supports GHF Plan to Expand Micro Mortgage Initiative

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - July 2, 2008) - The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) announced its support of a plan by the Global Housing Foundation (GHF) to provide access to affordable housing for residents living in some of the world's poorest communities. The "Micro Mortgage" program, which has been successful in Central America, has received a quarter-billion dollar commitment from Merrill Lynch. It will be expanded to Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America with a plan to develop 26,000 housing units over the next three years for residents living in urban slums.

Following their first European Board meeting, Tim Wilkens, President, GHF, stated, "Demand for affordable housing in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America is unbelievable. Through the Micro Mortgage program we hope to provide financial support for thousands of people who are currently living in some of the poorest conditions in each of these regions." GHF is accredited by the United Nations. The Micro Mortgage program provides low cost, quality sustainable homes by facilitating access to loans for an estimated 350 million "slum" dwellers who are employed, unable to afford housing, however able to repay this long term mortgage.

"This wonderful initiative leverages the expertise and resources of the real estate industry worldwide to meet the challenges of providing affordable and adequate housing for some of the poorest populations. We are proud to support these efforts," explained Lisa Kurrass, President Elect of FIABCI.

In addition, the initiative provides jobs for unskilled laborers and promotes women's rights by providing homes to women who might otherwise not have access to affordable housing.

"This is clearly an important step in the right direction towards solving the housing crisis in some of the world's most underdeveloped and highly populated areas," added Kurrass. "With support from Merrill Lynch and expertise of GHF and United Nations, economically disadvantaged families that have the ability to afford 15-30 year low cost mortgages, have a chance to lift themselves out of substandard conditions and contribute to their community," she concluded.

FIABCI is an organization of real estate professionals in 65 countries which represents more than 100 national real estate associations, over 2 million professionals, and serves as special consultant with NGO status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Organization (ECOSOC). For information, contact Lisa Kurrass (281) 338-8088 or Alyssa Nightingale (631) 367-8599.

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