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HUD Invests Further in Housing Counseling

american-moneyHUD announced on Friday it will be further investing in housing counseling by making $40 million in grants available to hundreds of housing counseling organizations nationwide.

The housing counseling organizations use the grant money to assist families who are buying their first home, attempting to locate affordable rental housing, or trying to avoid foreclosure. The grants, along with additional funding leveraged by the housing counseling organizations, will allow a network of more than 300 national, regional, and local organizations to reach more than 1.5 million households, according to HUD.

“We know that housing counseling can make all the difference in purchasing and, most importantly, keeping a home,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro.  “The grants we offer today will help ensure families and individuals make more informed housing decisions, whether it means buying their first home, avoiding foreclosure, or finding affordable rental housing.”

The $40 million in grants announced on Friday will be completed through HUD’s two-year Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability (encompassing FY 2016 and FY 2-17). The notice was published on February 18, 2016, and the deadline to apply for a grant is April 4, 2016.

Winners of the grant money will use the money to assist homebuyers with navigating through what can be a confusing and difficult process. The grantees also assist families with finding affordable housing and offer financial literacy training to help families who are struggling to repair their credit problems.

Much of the housing counseling grant funding is distributed by national and regional agencies to community-based organizations. The housing counseling organizations not only provide counseling to both homeowners and renters, but they assist homeless persons with finding transitional housing as a step toward finding permanent housing. The organizations also provide counseling to senior citizens who are seeking reverse mortgages (home equity conversion mortgages, or HECMs) to convert their equity into income.

Other services the housing counseling agencies provide include supporting fair housing by assisting borrowers with reviewing their documentation to avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms, or other conditions that can lead to loss of equity, default, or even foreclosure. Foreclosure prevention counseling can help homeowners who are at risk of default to review all their loos mitigation options in order to avoid foreclosure.

Click here to view HUD’s new funding announcement.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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