Congress has reauthorized and President Bush has signed legislation that’s intended to increase home ownership among Native Americans by guaranteeing private mortgage loans on Indian lands.

The Native American Home Ownership Opportunity Act of 2007 is a five-year reauthorization of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 184 Loan Guarantee Program, which provides a 100 percent guarantee for mortgages on Indian lands.

The guarantees make it more attractive for private-sector lenders to make mortgage loans to eligible Natives American families, tribes, and tribal housing entities purchasing homes. The program can also be used to rehabilitate existing homes, build new homes and refinance higher-interest-rate loans.

Since it was created in 1992, the Section 184 program has guaranteed more than 4,500 loans totaling $573.1 million. President Bush’s fiscal-year 2008 budget provides $367 million for the program, which would be a $251 million increase over the enacted 2006 budget and $116 million more than the 2007 request, according to a HUD press release.

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