HUD Awards $47M in Housing Counseling Grants Including Reverse Mortgage

Some reverse mortgage counseling agencies received a financial boost Wednesday when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced $47 million in grants to housing counseling organizations across the country.

In addition to supporting counseling for first-time homebuyers and other homeowners, the annual grant money will help fund some reverse mortgage counseling operations.

Quickcert Inc., a Tulsa, Okla.-based counseling agency that focuses solely on reverse mortgage counseling, received $172,433 in grant funding. Brandon Gentry, Quickcert’s operations manger, told RMD that this year’s funding is especially helpful after a few years of not receiving grant money.

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“We’re very happy and very appreciative,” he said. “We’re one of the counselors that still allows applicants to finance those costs, and many don’t go on to open the loan, which means we don’t get paid — so at some point you need the money.”

GreenPath Financial Wellness, out of Farmington Hills, Mich. received $2.3 million of the funding. Gene Spencer, CEO of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, an affiliate of grant recipient GreenPath, did not have numbers to compare this year’s grant to last year’s but did say the funding is just one piece of the the financial puzzle.

“The HUD funding helps, but more is needed to support the needs of aging reverse mortgage holders in ensuring compliance with property taxes, maintenance and other requirements,” Spencer told RMD.

Oakland, Calif.-based National Association of Real Estate Brokers- Investment Division, Inc., received $1.2 million in grant funding. This was an increase over its $1,048,000 in funding from last year, said founder and president Ray Carlisle.

“This typically covers about 20% of the operations — sometimes as low as 12%,” he said. Carlisle said counseling is a crucial part of the HECM loan process as it helps prevent predatory lending and other harmful activities.

“The government has a real responsibility to make sure that a high-cost product like this does not become misused,” he said.

In total, the grants support 31 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 19 state housing finance agencies and 207 local housing counseling agencies, with Washington D.C.-area organizations receiving almost $8 million of the grants.

“These agencies 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,” HUD said in a press release.

In addition, four national counseling groups will receive a total comprising $3.5 million in grant funding to train and certify additional housing counselors.

Written by Maggie Callahan

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  • Awesome! Free counseling will cost the client $125 less at the start of the loan. Not so awesome, double appraisals on FHA loans will cost hundreds more. Trying to smile and frown at the same time is difficult :)(

  • I am not sure what the big news is.

    In early July 2017, RMD reported $47 million being granted to credit counseling agencies. Now is no different than 15 months ago when HUD Secretary Carson made that announcement. So good news remains good news.

    Perhaps the strong positive reaction is that that the current Administration has made the announcement, two years in a row, where counseling grants were sporadic in the prior eight.

  • Phillip,

    Your comment, unfortunate is very true, well done sir!

    However, this is good news and will relieve some senior borrowers of the counseling fee burden, you see I said some!

    We need a great deal more good news coming out for the reverse mortgage space and I mean a lot.

    Negativity it seems is all we read these days, HUD needs to start giving us a lot of bright light at the end of the tunnel!

    John A. Smaldone
    http://www.hanover-financial.com

    • John,

      Unfortunately, the net news remains the same, not so good.

      I have heard one reliable source question if the industry will reach this fiscal year even the level of endorsements we saw last fiscal year. Surprisingly, total HECMs for the third quarter of fiscal 2018 (ended 6/30) were only 9,542 while the endorsements for the last quarter of fiscal 2018, the quarter just ended, were 8,985. That means that demand as evidenced by endorsements was dropping during the last six months of last fiscal year. So where is this recovery we hear about? This source believes that the endorsements for this fiscal quarter will be no greater than 9,100 but most likely slightly lower than the 8,985 endorsements of the last quarter of fiscal 2018.

      What if he is right that one of the next three months is more likely than not to have lower endorsements than June 2018, making that month the “NEW” nadir following the 10/2/2017 changes. Yet all of those endorsements would most likely have their case numbers assigned before October 1, 2018.

      While something may be being recovered, it is not total endorsements for a calendar quarter. If this guy is right our total endorsements for the nine months ending December 31, 2018 will accumulated less than 28,000 endorsements yet the calendar quarter ended March 31, 2018 we had 15,791 endorsements.

      As to endorsements we seem to be going backwards, not recovering. I really do not believe that free counseling will change endorsement numbers much, since the same grant was made 15 months before.

      Currently that what many call positive news are more the hopes of the optimists and the longings of the realists. As to endorsements, it may be the worst fiscal year for total endorsements following the total endorsements of fiscal 2004 is yet before us. As the old saying goes, before things can get better, they must first get worse. Will the same be true for the HECM portion of the MMIF?

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