The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Tuesday the implementation of new technology providing expanded information for those seeking assistance from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
The technology includes an enhanced and easy-to-use online search capability and a new, toll-free automated telephonic information delivery system for those seeking contact information for housing counseling agencies in their local community or nationally-based housing counseling intermediary organizations. The telephonic search capability is available by calling (800) 569-4287 and includes access to information in more than 200 different languages through translators who are available to assist those with limited English proficiency.
“Our new housing counseling agency locator tools will help the public access quality housing counseling services, which are a crucial component of HUD’s work to meet the housing needs of our nation’s families. HUD-certified housing counselors can help consumers understand their options for buying their first home, obtaining rental assistance, considering a reverse mortgage, and avoiding eviction or foreclosure,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon.
The online locator is available in English and Spanish and includes improved navigation, more counseling type search choices, smart-phone capability, and integration with common map and directional technology. The locator also provides information for contacting national housing counseling intermediary organizations which can expand a consumer’s options, particularly where there is no locally available agency.
The new telephonic locator responds to voice prompts and allows users to request information and assistance from a customer service representative from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., ET. Users can also request assistance from translators who are available to assist in more than 200 languages.
“With the increasing role of housing counselors in assisting with urgent housing issues like disaster relief and recovery and housing instability, the importance of being able to quickly connect consumers to HUD-approved housing counseling agencies is vitally important,” said Office of Housing Counseling Deputy Assistant Secretary David Berenbaum. “It is thanks to a tremendous partnership between our Office of Housing Counseling and the Office of Single Family Housing that we were able to replace outdated, 25-year-old technology with a robust, comprehensive, and easy-to-use set of tools for consumers.”
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