Meanwhile, housing, financial, and philanthropic leaders have announced the completion of a $2 billion affordable housing initiative begun in 1998, and Fannie Mae has pledged to buy an additional $2.5 billion in loans over the next five years.Representatives from Self-Help (a community development group), the Ford Foundation, Bank of America, Chevy Chase Bank, and Fannie Mae gathered in Washington Oct. 28 to mark the occasion. "I commend Fannie Mae and the Ford Foundation for their vision in helping make homeownership a reality for nearly 30,000 families across the nation through this initiative," said Martin Eakes, chief executive officer of Self-Help. "Together we have helped prove that low-income families are creditworthy, with low levels of losses and foreclosures, as documented in new research conducted by the initiative." The research, conducted by the University of North Carolina, found that participating lenders experienced a 0.7% foreclosure rate over five years, below the national rate of 1.1%. Self-Help's new initiative will focus on expanding homeownership for low-income rural families by targeting areas where they have migrated for job opportunities, the organizations said.

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