The U.S. Department of Agriculture has launched a housing loan programme in the Marshall Islands.
The department's Rural Development program will provide 236,000 US dollars in loans to help 17 families build their homes over the next two years.
It is the newest loan option for a program that has injected about 13 million dollars in loans and grants into the Marshall Islands for low income housing and community projects since 1990.
Department officials says when they were trying to get the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program extended to U.S.-affiliated islands in the Western Pacific several years ago they started with Guam, not the Marshall Islands.
But the response from Guam was less than enthusiastic.
However, now Guam and Palau as well as the Federated States of Micronesia.