A new program aimed at increasing home ownership among Orange County Latinos will be launched today in Buena Park. The Latino Homeownership Initiative will feature a mobile mortgage center and computer kiosks offering help in Spanish.
The program was developed by several public and private partners, including Freddie Mac. The idea is improve the homeownership rate of Latino households, which is 41% -- well below the county's overall rate of 61%.
The county has 802,357 Latinos, about 28% of the total population.
"Too often people are not aware of the opportunities and assistance available to them," said Rep. Ed Royce (R-Fullerton), one of the program's backers. "Hopefully, we can close the gap between dreams of owning a home and move-in day."
Royce will join with representatives from Freddie Mac, the National Assn. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, Affordable Housing Clearinghouse and others to begin the program.
"The key to the program are the partnerships," said Trinh LeCong, executive director for the clearinghouse in Lake Forest.
A combination of Latino real estate agents, nonprofit groups and big lenders will be part of the effort.
The Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution, a for-profit company, will provide flexible mortgages with low down payments. In turn, the loans will be bought by Freddie Mac.
The program will include three high-tech kiosks, one at the Buena Park Public Library, 7150 La Palma Ave., and two others at locations to be determined. They will provide information about the home-buying process to prospective buyers.
In addition, a mobile mortgage center staffed by bilingual mortgage counselors will travel the county, stopping at churches, public events and community centers to provide information and pre-qualify buyers.