Amy (left) & Jane (right) Certified HUD Housing Counselors

Catholic Charities Housing Counselors have successfully completed the certification examination administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Effective November 1, 2018, Jane Sokolowski and Amy Bell are Certified HUD Housing Counselors ensuring that Catholic Charities can continue providing housing counseling to those in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins and Tioga Counties.

Counselors must demonstrate competency in each of the following areas of housing counseling: (1) financial management; (2) property maintenance; (3) responsibilities of homeownership and tenancy; (4) fair housing laws and requirements; (5) housing affordability; and (6) avoidance of, and responses to, rental and mortgage delinquency and avoidance of eviction and mortgage default.

HUD-certified counselors also help to protect consumers from fraudulent operators who prey upon those experiencing mortgage difficulties. Even legitimate for-profit housing counselors can charge consumers hundreds of dollars for services that are provided free or at low-cost by HUD-approved counselors.

Independent research shows that consumers working with a HUD housing counseling agency, such as Catholic Charities, have better credit, more savings, and fewer foreclosures than similar non-counseled consumers.

Anyone in need of housing counseling may call Catholic Charities at 607-734-9784 and ask to speak with Jane or Amy. Details on their next First Time Home Buyers’ Workshop will be posted here when they are available.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on at www.hud.gov.