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Perry Announces $255 Million to Help Rita Victims, Texas Families Own Homes

Location: Orange, TX

Perry Announces $255 Million to Help Rita Victims, Texas Families Own Homes

ORANGE - Gov. Rick Perry today announced Texas is making $255 million available to help victims of Hurricane Rita and low-income families across the state purchase a home of their own. The program is expected to assist 2,300 Texas families.

"This is the largest amount of homebuyer funds ever released by the state. And more than 40 percent of it, or $108 million, is coming here to help Southeast Texans recover from Hurricane Rita," Perry said.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) will make the funds available to provide low interest rate mortgages and mortgage credit certificates to qualifying families. Homebuyers in Southeast Texas will be able to get loans with an interest rate under 6 percent, as well as grants to help cover the down payment. Those in the 22-county region of Southeast Texas impacted by Hurricane Rita don't need to be a first-time homebuyer to benefit from the program.

"Owning a home has always been an essential part of the American dream. For families, homeownership is not merely a source of pride, it is often the first step on the path to prosperity. And for our communities, homeownership provides an important source of stability," Perry said. "Research studies show that when a majority of families own the home in which they live, you end up with safer neighborhoods, greater economic opportunities and a stronger sense of community."

According to the US Census, 65.9 percent of all Texans own the home in which they live, which is higher than a few years ago, but a few points lower than the national average. Perry said making homeownership more affordable is "one of the best long-term investments government can make." The benefits of homeownership include increased math and reading scores for schoolchildren, and strengthened community bonds.

"This is a remarkable opportunity for anyone who has dreamed of owning a home but felt that finances put it beyond their reach. And for those who lost their dreams last year to Hurricane Rita, this is an opportunity for a new start on the road to a better tomorrow," Perry said. "I know there is a sense in Southeast Texas that Rita is the storm no one in Washington seems to remember. But Texas remembers. And in Texas, we take care of our own. The funds we are announcing today are just part of our commitment. And the state will continue to see that commitment through until life is back to normal for every one of our friends and neighbors in Southeast Texas."

The program has 35 participating lenders operating more than 300 branch offices throughout the state. For program details and more information on how to qualify, visit the TDHCA website at

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