The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it will be making $43 million in grants available to support hundreds of housing counseling organizations across the country. These organizations support homeowners through services aimed at helping those looking to purchase their first home, searching for affordable rental housing, or households trying to avoid foreclosure or eviction.
“HUD-approved housing counselors can make all the difference in helping families find and keep stable housing,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Research demonstrates that housing counseling helps people make informed housing choices and can be the best preventative medicine to avoid housing problems down the road.”
According to HUD, every federal dollar invested in housing counseling is estimated to stimulate six dollars from other state and local sources.
HUD’s plans to better assist and counsel homeowners facing foreclosure comes as delinquency rates continue to dwindle. Black Knight recently reported that mortgage delinquencies dropped to 3.47% as of April, the lowest point on record, and Black Knight noted that the 5.51% month-over-month decline between April and March was the strongest single-month April improvement Black Knight has seen.
Serious delinquencies fell to a 12-year record low as well, down to 474,000, marking a 124,000 year-over-year decline. Despite the declines, foreclosure starts edged up in April month-over-month by 4.28%, putting the total at 41,400. Year-over-year, however, foreclosure starts declined by 16.02%.
In addition to the grant funding announced last week, HUD will also make an additional $2.5 million dollars available through its Housing Counseling Training Grant Program to support basic and specialized housing counseling training for housing counseling agencies.
“HUD-approved housing counseling agencies help homebuyers evaluate if they are ready to buy a house, understand their financing and down payment options, help families find affordable rental housing, navigate through issues associated with Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs), and offer financial literacy training to help struggling families repair credit problems,” HUD stated.