WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded more than $50 million in housing counseling grants to hundreds of national, regional and local organizations to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures. HUD’s housing counseling grants and the additional funding they leverage will assist more than 1.4 million households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes. See list of all counseling agencies awarded funding today.
“This is a smart investment in helping families find and keep their homes,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Quite simply, knowledge is power. We know that armed with the information they need, those who receive counseling services are far more successful in buying, renting or avoiding foreclosure.”
More than $47 million of the grants announced today will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 31 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 19 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 199 local housing counseling agencies. In addition, HUD is awarding $3.5 million to four national organizations to train housing counselors who will receive the instruction and certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs.
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. Read a comprehensive summary of each grant. Read a comprehensive summary of each housing counseling grant.
Counseling improves housing outcomes for homebuyers, homeowners, and renters. Last year, HUD published research findings summarizing the impact of housing counseling has on families’ housing options and choices. In addition, 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.
Grant recipients address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs. This includes helping homebuyers evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and down payment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult homebuying process. The organization 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. 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 also 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 (800) 569-4287 for our interactive telephone directory. Get the free housing counseling i-phone 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.