CRA Qualified Investment Fund, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based mutual fund, has announced the launching of the Charlotte County (Fla.) Hurricane Housing Recovery Program, a $7 million bond financing initiative.Executives said the program was designed to assist the forgotten victims of Hurricane Charley of August 2004, the strongest hurricane to hit the region since 1960, which caused over $13 billion in damage. Many of the victims still live in temporary housing. "We are solving a problem here and creating a template that can be picked up and used again by other local and state governments looking for innovative ways to provide assistance to storm-hit regions," said CRA portfolio manager Barbara Van Scoy. The program will initially supply a pool of investment capital to participating lenders, CRA said. SunTrust Bank, Countrywide Financial Corp., and Mercantile Bank, along with Fannie Mae, the Charlotte County Housing Authority, and The Housing Corp., are participating in the program to guarantee the loans to individual families.

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