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Post-Katrina focus turns to home ownership

Bush's plans call for Urban Homesteading Act

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President Bush is promoting home ownership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with plans for an Urban Homesteading Act, which would make some federally owned land free to eligible low-income families through a lottery. In return, the families would pledge to build homes on the lots with either a mortgage or help from a charitable organization like Habitat for Humanity. Bush unveiled the homesteading plans Thursday during his address to the nation from Jackson Square, New Orleans, saying, "When the houses are rebuilt, more families should own, not rent, those houses." "Home ownership is one of the great strengths of any community, and it must be a central part of our vision for the revival of this region," Bush said in prepared remarks. The administration has yet to reveal how much land is available for the homesteading initiative or how families will be eligible. Critics of the plan have argued that free federal land won't go far enough to house victims if they have no income to pa...