November 22, 2004
NEW LAW WILL INCREASE NATIVE AMERICAN HOMEOWNERSHIP
Fitting Tribute as Nation Celebrates American Indian Heritage Month
WASHINGTON - President Bush signed into law a bill that raises the loan guarantee limit for a U.S. Housing and Urban Development loan guarantee program to 95 percent - up from 80 percent. This move encourages banks and other lenders to extend mortgage loans to Native Americans, which will increase homeownership in Indian Country.
The Homeownership Opportunities for Native Americans Act of 2004 raised the loan guarantee limits for HUD's Title VI Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee program, making it more advantageous for private mortgage lenders to make loans to tribes for affordable housing activities, including homeownership.
"This is a major step for Native Americans," said HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu. "To have this in place as we celebrate National American Indian Heritage Month is gratifying."
HUD's Title VI program assists tribes who receive HUD Indian Housing Block Grants. These tribes and tribal representatives want to finance eligible affordable housing activities, but are unable to secure financing without a federal guarantee. The increased guarantee is a pledge by the United States to repay all or a portion of the unpaid principal balance and accrued interest of loans that go in default.
President Bush, during his first term, set a goal to increase the number of minority homeowners by 5.5 million by the end of the decade. While far more Americans are homeowners today, minorities continue to lag others - with Native Americans near the bottom rung of the homeownership ladder. HUD's two loan guarantee programs - Title VI and the Section 184 program are helping to increase the number of Native American homeowners.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.
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