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small print: Part of the America Recovery And Reinvestment Act.
Looks like the powers-that-be in the US are determined to repeat the misguided mistakes of the recent-past.
A good part of the reason why the US is in the trouble it's in is the reckless lending habits on the part of the banks. The banks, in turn, were spurred on by Congress, which felt that home-ownership was a "right".
As a result, the banks bypassed the usual safeguard checks and balances, e.g., buyers showing they had the discipline and financial wherewithal to come up with a decent deposit, and having a personal equity stake in the property.
For what it's worth, in Canada the real estate mess has been pretty much avoided by sticking with traditional conservative banking practices.