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US agency announces mortgage program in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- A U.S. government agency has announced a mortgage program that aims to help up to 4,000 families in Haiti.

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation says the effort will combine loans from OPIC and grants from other groups. The money awarded will include $1,000 mortgages. Financing will also be given for home repairs.

Many people still need to repair their homes three years after Haiti was hit with a massive earthquake. The 2010 disaster toppled thousands of buildings and killed thousands of people.

Home financing is relatively new to Haiti. Most of the population is unemployed or underemployed and banks seldom offer loans to anyone but the country's tiny elite. The bulk of Haiti's 10 million people are renters.

OPIC made the announcement Monday.