Lula housing plan could beat 1 million homes goal

* “My House, My Life” plan had initial goal of 1 mln homes

* Government to launch 2nd part of plan in June

* Number of homes built could reach 3 million-executive

FORTALEZA, Brazil, March 18 (Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government could triple to 3 million the number of homes it will build under its flagship low-income housing plan, underscoring the program’s success after its first year, an industry executive familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

An announcement could come on April 29, when Lula is slated to release a new version of the program, known in Brazil as “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (“My House, My Life”), said Paulo Safady Simao, president of the Brazilian Construction Chamber.

The $20 billion plan, which was begun in March 2009 as part of an emergency package to help Brazil’s economy fend off the global recession, had an initial goal of 1 million homes to be built by 2011. As of December 2009, officials estimated that 50 percent to 60 percent of the homes had been built.

The program also involves loan guarantees and subsidies to entice low-income households to buy homes.

Simao, who did not give a time estimate for the project’s completion, said the government will focus on subsidizing home financing for the poorest families, with incomes below three times the minimum wage, now at 510 reais ($285) per month and affecting more than 30 million workers and retirees.

Simao noted that the plan’s second phase will probably require up to 72 billion reais ($40 billion) in subsidies and loan guarantees. The money will come from the federal budget, he added. ($1=1.788 reais) (Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)