Groups in Boise, Hillsboro, Medford, Portland, Springfield & Seattle, says Donovan, help families
"navigate the home buying process and secure their financial futures"
As part of its continuing effort to help households find decent housing and prevent future foreclosures, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently awarded $480,580 to seven HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in Idaho, Oregon and Washington state.
Agencies in the Northwest winning HUD Housing Counseling grants recently are the Idaho Housing Finance Association in Boise, Open Door Housing Counseling left in Hillsboro, Access, Inc. in Medford, the Native American Youth and Family left in Portland, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation in Springfield and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and Solid Ground, both in Seattle. Each of the seven winners received funds for comprehensive counseling services. Solid Ground won a second grant to counsel seniors with or seeking Home Equity Conversion "reverse" mortgages (see individual grant award amounts below).
Recently's awards represent more than $36 million in funds awarded to support the housing counseling services provided by 27 national and regional organizations, 6 multi-state organizations, 16 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 419 local housing counseling agencies. In addition to the 7 local Northwest organizations receiving awards recently, a number of the national and regional counseling organizations - Clearpoint Financial Solutions., Money Management International and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation("NeighhborWorks") - also provide counseling in the Northwest.
"The HUD-approved counseling agencies this funding supports are crucial in helping struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We fought hard to persuade Congress to restore funding for housing counseling in HUD's budget and now we're working to make these important resources available as quickly as possible. These funds are complemented by the roughly $2.5 billion provided to the states as part of the $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement. Most states can use those funds for foreclosure prevention activities such as housing counseling and legal aid services," added Secretary Donovan.
"The last few years have been difficult for both homeowners and renters," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, "and housing counseling agencies have helped thousands upon thousands of them navigate safely through very troubled waters. We are very pleased that Congress agreed to restore funding to these agencies so that these agencies can continue their critical work."
HUD Grants will support the following state and local agencies: See chart at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/washington/news/HUDNo.20....
Housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming homeowners, many for the first time, and remaining homeowners after their purchase. They also provide assistance to renters and the homeless, and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families.
National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD's housing counseling grant funding to community-based grassroots organizations that provide information and guidance to low- and moderate-income families seeking to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers.
Grant recipients help homebuyers and homeowners 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. In addition to providing counseling to homebuyers and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live.
Grantees also help combat predatory lending by helping unwary borrowers review their loan documentation, and 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. With foreclosures at critical levels nationwide, these services are more important than ever.
HUD awards annual grants under the housing counseling program through a competitive process. Organizations that apply for grants must be HUD-approved and are subject to monitoring and oversight to maintain their HUD-approved status.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental home; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.