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Additional HUD Grants Awarded to Counseling Agencies Brings Total to $42 Million

MoneyAfter awarding $36 million worth of grants to hundreds of national, regional, and local organizations to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures in April, HUD recently awarded an additional $6 million in grants to add to that total, according to a press release.

HUD also mentioned that the announcement includes nearly $1.5 million for new housing counseling grantees and $4.5 million to supplement the funding awarded in April to existing grantees.

Nearly $6 million of the total $42 million will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 33 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 20 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs), and 248 local housing counseling agencies.

"Whether you're a first-time buyer or trying to keep the place you've always called home, knowledge is the key to financial empowerment," said Julián Castro, HUD secretary. "We're proud to support our housing counseling partners as they help American families achieve stability and prosperity."

According to HUD, most of the grants they are providing for these organizations were completed through the department's FY2014–FY2015 Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published March 4, 2014. HUD is also offering additional grants to new housing counseling agencies that are eligible through a supplemental funding notice HUD published in April.

“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,” HUD said in the press release. “In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers.”

Grant recipients will be expected to use the funds to alleviate families’ housing counseling needs, HUD says. This includes helping homebuyers evaluate how ready they are to purchase a home, understanding what options they have with financing and how much of a down-payment is needed, and navigate the difficult buying process with ease. These organizations will also help people find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families whose lack of good credit limit their housing options.

“Housing counseling agencies 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,” HUD said. “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.”

HUD will also be providing transitional housing for homeless people that need it with the hope of eventually finding them a permanent place to live. Senior citizens will also receive help with reverse mortgages. These agencies will 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.

Senior households have been rising slowly over the decades, but this is about to change in the coming years. On Monday, June 15, Urban Institute’s analysis of housing trends determined that senior households are expected to grow dramatically by 2030.

The institute found that in 1990, there were 20 million households for seniors ages 65 and up. In 2010, this number had reached 25.8 million, and by 2030, the institute projects that aging baby boomer households will reach 46 million.

“This dramatic growth will occur among both senior homeowners and renters, the authors said. “Our research suggests that from 2010 to 2030, senior homeowners will increase from 20 million to almost 34 million, and senior renters—who include both homeowners who will shift to renting and baby boomers who already rent—will increase from 5.8 million to 12.2 million.”

Click here to view HUD's list of Counseling Agency Grantees.

About Author: Xhevrije West

Xhevrije West is a talented writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She has worked for a number of publications including The Syracuse New Times, Dallas Flow Magazine, and Bellwethr Magazine. She completed her Bachelors at Alcorn State University and went on to complete her Masters at Syracuse University.
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