The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced two separate awards geared toward the common goal of fostering housing equality for all.
HUD has awarded $25 million to 181 public housing agencies (PHAs) experiencing or at risk of experiencing financial shortfalls. Dubbed “Public Housing Operating Fund Shortfall” funding, provided by the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, HUD’s investment will enable PHAs to continue serving residents as they take steps to ensure long-term financial solvency.
“Public housing agencies, like other organizations, have been impacted by financial disruptions from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dominque Blom, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at HUD. “Supporting PHAs in this way is critical to serving HUD-assisted households. These funds stabilize PHAs so that they can meet the needs of residents and taking steps toward long-term financial stability.”
PHA awardees facing shortfalls are defined as having less than three months of operating expenses held in reserve. While PHAs of various sizes may have been eligible to receive funding, HUD is concerned with the ability of small and very-small PHAs to generate resources to supplement their public housing program, and therefore prioritized these PHAs in the distribution of funds.
To establish that PHAs that receive Shortfall funding take appropriate steps to ensure long-term financial solvency, HUD will undertake the additional monitoring of all PHAs that receive funding under this category. Additionally, HUD has identified and informed the PHAs of recommended actions that they can take to improve their financial performance. PHAs that receive Shortfall funding are required to develop a plan identifying action items the PHA can take to improve their financial performance.
HUD has also announced, through its Office of Housing Counseling that it has awarded $41.3 million in grants to support the vital services performed by the nation’s housing counselors. The awards include $38.6 million in second-year housing counseling grants to 173 HUD-approved local housing counseling agencies, national and regional organizations, multi-state organizations, and state housing finance agencies who were awarded grants under the September 18, 2021, Office of Housing Counseling two-year Comprehensive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies provide services to address a full range of housing counseling needs, including assisting buyers in evaluating their readiness for a home purchase and navigating through the home buying process, finding affordable rental housing, offering financial literacy training to individuals and families, and providing foreclosure prevention counseling. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies also support emergency preparedness and disaster recovery efforts, assist the homeless in finding transitional housing, and counsel seniors on whether a HECM or other reverse mortgage makes sense for them.
The Office also awarded an additional $2.75 million in second-year funding for six HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that received awards under HUD’s November 2, 2021, Office of Housing Counseling Training NOFO.
“Today’s awards provide important funding for housing counseling agencies that are performing crucial services for individuals and families across the nation,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon. “Maintaining and funding a network of quality housing counseling resources through our Office of Housing Counseling is a key piece of achieving HUD’s goals to reduce barriers and promote equity in housing.”
HUD’s funding will continue to support housing counseling services performed by these agencies, including pre-purchase homebuyer counseling, foreclosure prevention counseling, rental eviction prevention counseling, and disaster recovery counseling, among others.
HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Counseling David Berenbaum added, “We are pleased to provide this second year of funding to support HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agencies in fulfilling their many roles, including helping families maintain housing stability as the nation recovers from the pandemic.”
The $2.75 million in grants awarded by HUD under the Office of Housing Counseling Training NOFO will support education and training for housing counselors, including training on delivering housing counseling services to seniors seeking reverse mortgages under the Federal Housing Administration’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, and training to support successful completion of the HUD Housing Counselor Certification exam.
HUD has earmarked $302,500 of these funds to two recipient organizations that will issue training scholarships to students of historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority serving institutions enrolled in a housing counseling workforce development program.