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WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives approved `The American Dream Downpayment Act’ that’s designed to help more Americans become homeowners by providing $200 million in grant funds to defray mortgage closing costs for 40,000 families annually. H.R. 1276 was introduced by Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) and was approved by voice vote. The bill would provide $200 million in grants for each of fiscal years 2004 and 2005, for low-income, first-time homebuyers. The grants will be distributed through HUD’s HOME program. The agency estimates an average of $5,000 will go to each qualifying family for downpayment and closing costs on their homes. “Downpayment and closing costs are the biggest hurdles to homeownership for many American families. By helping those struggling to meet these costs, we can give more families an opportunity to build assets, we can get more Americans into homes, we can create jobs, and we can boost local economies,” said Committee Chairman Michael Oxley (R-Ohio).

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