House Approves $45 Million in 2015 Housing Counseling Funds

Housing counseling programs would get the same amount in funding in fiscal year 2015 as in fiscal year 2014 at $45 million under a spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

Housing counseling programs also received the same amount of funding under the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill in fiscal year 2013, which fell from fiscal year 2012’s allocation of $60 million.

While the appropriations committee was positive on housing counseling in general, it did not approve funding for for a new pilot program—Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK)–that would expand use of housing counseling tied to FHA originations and servicing.

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The last time housing counseling funding was slashed altogether—causing many counseling organizations to scramble to secure funding and raise the cost of counseling service—was in 2011.

In total, the bill, which also provides funds toward transportation and infrastructure in national need, reflects an allocation of $52 billion in discretionary spending—an increase of $1.2 billion above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and a decrease of $7.8 billion below the President’s budget request. However, given the reduction in offsets caused by a decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts, the program level within the bill is more accurately $1.8 billion below the current level.

The bill was approved with a 28-21 vote.

Fiscal year 2015 begins Oct. 1, 2014.

Written by Cassandra Dowell