WASHINGTON - HUD officials this week initiated a six-month study of the beleaguered Federal Housing Administration in an effort to reinvigorate it and improve its ability to provide credit enhancement for affordable housing projects.

"We must commit to revitalize FHA," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros said in a statement on Tuesday. "There remain many housing needs in this country that the private market is not meeting - particularly the home ownership and affordable housing needs of low- and moderate-income Americans."

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