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BLOOMINGTON - Buying a home for the first time will get a little easier for those who speak Spanish, thanks to a partnership involving Mid Central Community Action, State Farm Bank and a national Hispanic civil rights organization.

Community officials met Friday with representatives of the National Council of LaRaza at State Farm Insurance Cos. corporate headquarters to discuss how to help first-time home buyers.

"Buying a home can be very complicated," said Lori Manning of State Farm Bank. "Now imagine how complicated it gets when you speak very little or no English."

By adding the national organization, State Farm hopes to help Community Action find a way to hire a bilingual counselor, Manning said.

"We want to serve all aspects of the community," said John Burrill of Community Action. "But I can't do that very easily because I don't speak Spanish."

Manning said the idea of partnering with the national organization came after they learned that first-time home buyers were asking questions of staff at local agencies, such as the Western Avenue Community Center.

"Their expertise is not necessarily in walking someone through a home loan application, so they were not able to answer these questions," Manning said.

She said working with the Arizona-based national organization seemed like a natural solution because it already had a long-standing partnership with State Farm.

Tommy Espinoza from the National Council of LaRaza said the organization started as a community development group and has become one of the largest Hispanic community development banks in the country.

Helping Bloomington-area Hispanics become homeowners is part of the organization's long-standing mission to "bring them around to the dignity of the family and the dignity of the human being," Espinoza said.

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