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Bush seeks help for minority home buyers

Bush seeks help for minority home buyers

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Saturday proposed removing barriers that prevent many minorities from buying a home and participating in the American dream.

"While nearly three-quarters of all white Americans own their homes, less than half of all African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans are homeowners," Bush said in his weekly radio address.

The American Dream Down-Payment Fund, outlined earlier this year and awaiting action by Congress, would focus on low-income families who are first-time home buyers.

The fund would give communities $200 million in grants over five years to help home buyers make down payments and pay closing costs.

The two items are considered the biggest hurdles to homeownership, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which would administer the program.

Some 40,000 low-income families -- receiving about $5,000 apiece -- could be helped over those five years, Bush said.

To encourage the construction of single-family homes in neighborhoods where affordable housing is scarce, developers would receive $2.4 billion in tax credits for building homes in distressed areas.

The fund also would offer financial education and counseling to protect home buyers from abuses and help them get them best loan terms possible.

"My approach to broadening homeownership focuses on empowering people to help themselves, and to help one another," Bush said.


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