HUD hires Equals Three in $1.5m minority initiative

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has tapped Equals Three Communications to conduct a one-year, $1.5 million campaign encouraging home ownership among minorities.

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has tapped Equals Three Communications to conduct a one-year, $1.5 million campaign encouraging home ownership among minorities.

The effort is part of President Bush's American Homeownership Challenge, a call to increase the number of minority families who own their own homes by 5.5 million by 2010. Established in 1965, HUD's overall mission is to increase homeownership for Americans, specifically the disadvantaged, through counseling and financial assistance.

"Homeownership in America among minorities lags about 25% behind that of white Americans," said Jennifer White, director of integrated marketing services at Equals Three. "That's why HUD has determined it needs to make an effort to specifically reach out to minorities."

The campaign targets specific cities with large Hispanic and African-American populations, including Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

Much of the $1.5 million price tag will go toward advertising that reminds the specified communities of the services available to them through HUD. A supporting media-relations blitz targeting special-interest and general media outlets will place articles and editorials "addressing barriers that minorities have faced to homeownership," said White, who will serve as the lead on the account.

Equals Three is a midsize, Maryland-based social-marketing firm. It holds a number of government public-education contracts with NASA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Defense.

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