The homeownership rate for working families with children is below the level recorded in 1978, despite a prolonged national effort to increase homeownership opportunities to record levels, according to a new report titled "Locked Out."The homeownership rate for low- and moderate-income working families with children was 62.5% in 1978. It fell to 56.7% in 2001 and rebounded to 59.6% in 2003, according to the Center for Housing Policy report, which was sponsored by the Chicago Dwellings Association. "Had the 1978 homeownership rates prevailed in 2003, an additional 2.3 million children would be living in owner-occupied homes," CHP chairman Ann Schnare said. The researchers attribute part of the decline to a dramatic increase in single-parent households over the past two decades, plus increasing housing costs relative to incomes. However, the CHP chairman said she believes that ongoing initiatives to promote homeownership need to be examined. "Simply boosting the overall homeownership rate is an empty gesture unless working families with children are fully participating in these gains," Ms. Schnare said. CHP is an affiliate of the National Housing Conference in Washington.

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