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Home ownership rate on reservations last year was 33 percent

Washington, DC - A bill to improve home ownership for Native Americans on tribal land is backed by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, the Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee's Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development. The full Senate Banking Committee approved the bill during a mark-up today.

Tribal lands are generally held in trust by the federal government for individual tribes, which makes obtaining individual mortgages for home ownership difficult. The program, supported by Crapo, extends loan guarantees for such transactions on tribal lands, making it easier for Native Americans to finance home purchases.

"Through this program, more tribal members will have the American dream of home ownership opened to them," Crapo said. "Historically, the Native American home ownership rate has been among the lowest among all ethnic groups. Since this program started in 1992, it has guaranteed more than 80 loans for home purchases in Idaho worth over $6 million to members of Idaho's Native American Tribes."

The Native American Home Ownership Opportunity Act of 2007 (H.R. 1676) would reauthorize the loan guarantee program known as the Section 184 program. The program, administered by HUD, provides federal guarantees to private lenders who make mortgage loans to eligible borrowers for single-family (one to four family units) homes located on trust land. Applicants must reside on tribal land or within the same local area as the tribe.

HUD has guaranteed 4,200 loans under the program since its inception; fewer than one percent failed to perform. President Bush recommended $7 million for the program for Fiscal Year 2008, up from $3 million from the previou year. The measure now advances to the full Senate for consideration. It passed the U.S. House by voice vote on April 24th.

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