WASHINGTON – June 15, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded nearly $6 million in grants to hundreds of national, regional and local organizations to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures. The grants announced today are in addition to $36 million awarded in April. See list of all counseling agencies awarded funding today. (Catholic Charities of Chemung/Schuyler is a sub-grantee under Catholic Charities USA.)
Today’s announcement includes nearly $1.5 million to new housing counseling grantees and $4.5 million to supplement the funding awarded in April to existing grantees. Read a comprehensive summary of each grant, organized by state.
“Whether you’re a first-time buyer or trying to keep the place you’ve always called home, knowledge is the key to financial empowerment,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “We’re proud to support our housing counseling partners as they help American families achieve stability and prosperity.”
Nearly $6 million will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 33 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 20 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 248 local housing counseling agencies.
The majority of the grants announced today were competed through the Department’s two-year (FY2014 – FY2015) Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published March 4, 2014. In addition, HUD offered additional grants to eligible new housing counseling agencies through a supplemental funding notice HUD published in April.
National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that assist low- and moderate-income families to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers.
Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Urban Institute continues to find substantial benefits to housing counseling for families who purchase their first homes and those struggling to prevent foreclosure. Read more about research evidence on the role housing counseling can play in reducing mortgage delinquency and foreclosure and helping first-time buyers access and sustain homeownership.
Grant recipients utilize funding to address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs. This includes helping homebuyers realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and downpayment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process. Grantees also help households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options.
In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. Finally, grantees also assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or (HECM). These agencies provide counseling for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, and other living expenses.
Housing counseling agencies support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation, to avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and even foreclosure. Likewise, foreclosure prevention counseling helps homeowners facing delinquency or default employ strategies, including expense reduction, negotiation with lenders and loan servicers, and loss mitigation, to avoid foreclosure.
There are many ways to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Visit HUD’s website or call 1-800-569-4287 for our interactive telephone directory. Get the free housing counseling iPhone app from the app store (not yet available for android). Watch HUD’s video on how housing counseling can help families find (and keep) housing.
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