Candidates for U.S. President may disagree on the war in Iraq, income taxes, abortion and a long list of other policy issues. But they agree on at least one priority: the value of home ownership.

This is as it should be.

Home ownership enables families and individuals to live together in reasonable safety and security. It is a pillar of the national economy, a significant source of household wealth, a spur to community involvement and civic participation, and so much more.

There is no shortage among politicians of ideas on how to increase the nation’s home ownership rate and help those most in need with their housing problems. One plan would use federal assistance to increase minority home ownership. Another plan would create a national housing trust fund. One candidate promises to crack down on predatory lending. Another would strengthen enforcement of fair housing and equal credit opportunity laws. A third is interested in Native American housing, universal design and housing accessibility. A fourth candidate would strengthen rural housing programs. Some of the candidates are on record with their support for the Sec. 8 rent voucher program, the HOPE VI public housing program and the block grant program that distributes funds for community revitalization and construction of affordable housing.

Hey, it’s all good.

In the end, however, boosting the home ownership rate should be the number one goal. Once a family or individual owns a home, it is very difficult for anyone to take away those benefits. Pride of ownership takes over and the social benefits are bountiful.

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