The Enterprise Foundation and the Federal National Mortgage Association have created a new fund that will use low-income housing tax credits to attract investment in permanent housing for homeless Americans, executives of the institutions announced.

The mortgage association, known as Fannie Mae, put $10 million into the new fund and expects other companies to follow its example, according to David O. Maxwell, Fannie Mae's chief executive and board chairman. Investors can use the credits to lower their federal tax bills.

"Corporate America must do its part to help poor Americans achieve what the rest of us enjoy," Maxwell said at a news conference. Fannie Mae's $10 million investment will fund more than 600 units of housing, an official of the Enterprise Foundation said. The foundation was established in 1982 by Columbia, Md., developer James W. Rouse and his wife, Patty Rouse, to help provide housing for low-income Americans.

Money from the new fund will pay for construction of rental housing and for rehabilitation of existing buildings. Homeless families and individuals moving into the housing will get help with job training, child care, counseling and other such services, officials said. This is an important element in the new program because homeless people often have a variety of other needs and problems, they said.

The Enterprise Foundation has set up a separate organization to find and supply these services. Its staff will seek money and help from existing sources, including city, state and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations, according to Paul C. Brophy, president of foundation.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp attended the news conference and praised the new initiatives, saying HUD "can now play a better role as partner" to local housing efforts. The recently passed National Affordable Housing Act authorizes $400 million in federal spending over the next two years to help local governments and nonprofit organizations provide shelter and other help for low-income people.