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June 22, 2004 > Mulitlingual Home Ownership Center Launched

Mulitlingual Home Ownership Center Launched

A new initiative designed to help more Asian and Hispanic families in the Alameda County area become homeowners was announced today by a new coalition including Lao Family Community Development, Inc., Fremont Bank, and Freddie Mac, one of the nation's largest investors in residential mortgages.

The Multilingual "People Helping People" Initiative was created to address many of the critical homeownership challenges facing Alameda County's fast-growing Asian community. These challenges include a lack of bi-lingual information about homebuying and mortgage finance, language and cultural barriers, and a lack of a credit history.

The centerpiece of the new initiative is a new Multilingual Homeownership Center at the Fremont Family Resource Center, 39155 Liberty Street, Fremont, CA. 94538. Developed by Lao Family Community Development, Inc., the Multilingual Homeownership Center provides face-to-face homebuyer education in any one of eight different languages, including Vietnamese, Spanish, Frasi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Lao, Mien, and Thai.

"Freddie Mac puts its mission to expand homeownership first. That's why we are excited to launch our first ever effort to help Alameda County's families overcome the most common cultural and financial barriers to homeownership," said Freddie Mac vice president of expanding markets Craig Nickerson. "We are delighted to join forces with the Lao Family and Fremont Bank to demystify the homeownership process for more Alameda County area residents."

Fremont Bank will work to provide qualified borrowers with affordable mortgage financing that includes acceptance of non-traditional credit references and other credit challenges. As a result, homebuyers may be able to obtain mortgages that require no more than $500 in cash from their own funds for downpayments or closing costs. Freddie Mac expects to purchase mortgages made through the new initiative in order to provide a steady supply of additional mortgage credit for Alameda County area borrowers.
"Fremont Bank's alliance with the Lao Family and Freddie Mac creates a powerful team that addresses many of the challenges of home ownership in the Hispanic and Asian communities", said Fremont Bank's Vice President Gloria Villasana Fuerniss. "It is a privilege to be a part of a vision that benefits so many families living in the Bay Area."

The Multilingual Homeownership Center is the third center opened by Lao Family Community Development, Inc. in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, over the past two years. During that time, the two existing centers in the cities of Oakland and San Pablo have reached more than 5,000 residents, provided in-depth borrower counseling to more than 800 residents, and helped 63 to become homeowners.

"Alliances between financial institutions and non-profits are critical to increasing the rate of homeownership among limited-English speaking refugees and immigrants," said Lao Family Community Development's Associate Director Jennie Mollica. "We are able to provide high quality education and counseling in multiple languages, while we rely on Fremont Bank and Freddie Mac to help our clientele access affordable mortgage loans."

One of the nation's largest investors in residential mortgages, Freddie Mac invested nearly $36 billion in mortgages in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties over the past five years, helping an estimated 185,000 area families to become homeowners.

Prospective homebuyers who want to take advantage of the new initiative should contact the Multilingual Homeownership Center at 510-533-8850.

Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned corporation chartered by Congress in 1970 to create a continuous flow of funds to mortgage lenders. By supplying lenders with the money to make mortgages and packaging the mortgages into marketable securities, Freddie Mac sustains a stable mortgage credit system and reduces the mortgage rates paid by homebuyers. Over the years, Freddie Mac has opened the doors for one in six homebuyers in America and two million renters.

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