State and local government agencies have put less than half of the downpayment assistance fund provided by Congress to work in moving low-income renters into new homes, according to an audit requested by Congress.The Government Accountability Office found that only $98.5 million of the $211 million appropriated for President Bush's signature American Dream Downpayment Initiative has been tapped to help low-income homebuyers. "Officials from many jurisdictions said the combination of high housing prices, the low incomes of eligible families, and the program's per-household assistance limits made it challenging to expend the funds," the GAO report says. The data system that the Department of Housing and Urban Development uses to track the ADDI shows that half the ADDI recipients are minorities and one-third of assisted households earned less than 50% of median income. However, the GAO faulted HUD for providing inconsistent guidance on data entry to local jurisdictions. As a result, HUD's figures include an "unknown" number of non-ADDI projects that provided downpayment assistance to first-time homeowners, the GAO said.

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