The Obama Administration announced on Thursday a round of grants totaling nearly $73 million to more than 500 national, regional, and local organizations to provide housing counseling services.[IMAGE]
The funding, provided by the United States ""Department of Housing and Urban Development"":http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD (HUD), will allow hundreds of thousands of households the chance to find housing or stay in their homes. The funding represents a 22 percent increase over last year's funding.
""These organizations are on the front lines of helping families who are desperate to remain in their homes,"" said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
He continued,""Now, more than ever, it's crucial that we support these agencies that are working with struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the home buying process, and secure their financial futures.""[COLUMN_BREAK]
The counseling grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners and in remaining homeowners once they have a house. The HUD-approved counseling agencies provide both homeownership counseling and financial literacy training to renters and homeless people.
Nearly $68 million will provide housing counseling services by 24 national and regional organizations, five multi-state organizations and 484 state and local housing counseling agencies.
Counseling agencies will receive $9.5 million of the grant to help assist senior citizens with reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. The remaining $5 million is awarded to three national organizations to train, instruct, and certify more than 4,000 counselors to assist families.
Agencies receiving the grants will also focus on helping home buyers and homeowners evaluate their readiness for home purchase, and understanding financing and down payment options. The agencies will also help combat predatory lending by helping borrowers review loan documentation and avoid potential mortgage scams, inflated appraisals, high interest rates, and other issues that can lead to problems down the road.
""It is crucial that Americans better understand how to manage their money, navigate the home buying process, and secure their financial future."" said Donovan. ""This critical funding will help counseling organizations continue to assist families in making more informed choices before they purchase a home and counsel families facing foreclosure.""