Following October’s Housing Scorecard showing continued instability in the nation’s housing market, the Obama Administration and HUD have announced $73 million in housing counseling grants to more than 500 national, regional and local organizations. The grants are part of an effort to help families find decent housing and avoid foreclosure.
The new grants represent a $13 million increase over last year’s funding level–a 22% change. “Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we support agencies that are working with struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures,” said HUD Secretary Shaun 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.”
The housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners and avoiding foreclosure after their purchase. HUD-approved counseling agencies not only provide homeownership counseling, but also offer financial literacy training to renters and homeless individuals and families.
Nearly $68 million will directly support 24 national and regional organizations, 5 multi-state organizations, and 484 state and local housing counseling agencies. The remaining $5 million will go toward three national organizations to train approximately 4,500 counselors, who will receive the instruction and certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs. Much of HUD’s funding will go toward community-based grassroots organizations that provide guidance to low- and moderate-income families, homeless individuals and families, renters, and other aspiring homeowners.
HUD awards its housing counseling grants through a competitive process. Organizations that apply for grants must be HUD-approved and are subject to performance reviews to maintain their HUD-approved status.