The grants will enable the organizations to assist families in becoming homeowners, many for the first time. They will also provide assistance to renters and the homeless, and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said his agency “fought hard to persuade Congress” to restore funding for housing counseling in HUD’s budget.
“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,” Donovan said.
Grant recipients help homebuyers and existing homeowners evaluate their readiness for a home purchase so they can understand financing and down payment options.
These organizations also 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 borrowers review their loan documentation, and avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and even foreclosure.
More than $36 million in grant funds will support the 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, HUD is awarding $2 million to three national organizations to train counselors who will receive the certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs.
Counseling agencies will also receive $4 million to help assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM). These agencies will help for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners seeking to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, and other living expenses.