President Bush wants to make it easier for more low-income Americans to own a home. Less than half of all African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans own their own homes. By comparison, nearly three-quarters of white Americans are homeowners.

President Bush said that needs to change as he said homeownership is a source of both community stability and financial security. "We must begin to close this homeownership gap by dismantling the barriers that prevent minorities from owning a piece of the American dream. The single greatest hurdle to first time homeownership is a high downpayment requirement that can put a home out of reach. So my administration is proposing the American Dream Down Payment Fund," Mr. Bush said.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush said the fund will help qualified families buy a home when they come up short on their down payment. He said the plan should help 40,000 low-income families a year.

The president said he also wants to encourage the building of more single-family homes in neighborhoods where affordable housing is scarce. Mr. Bush wants to give developers $2 billion worth of tax breaks over the next five years to make 200,000 new homes available for low-income buyers.

"Through these important initiatives, we can help thousands of American families live the kinds of lives they had once only dreamed about. But government action isn't enough. We need to energize and engage the private sector, as well," Mr. Bush said.

The president said he is challenging the real estate industry to work with non-profit groups and private sector financial institutions in what he calls a "major nationwide effort" to increase minority homeownership.