The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Friday awarded $43 million in counseling grants to agencies across the country, coinciding with the beginning of June as National Homeownership Month. However, this year’s award amount has dropped for the second consecutive year in a row.
Housing counseling agencies approved by HUD will use grant funds to support a series of counseling services designed to assist both individuals and families seeking to buy a first home; find affordable rental housing; or avoid eviction or foreclosure.
“HUD-approved housing counselors can make all the difference in helping families find and keep stable housing,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a press release announcing the funding. “Research demonstrates that housing counseling helps people make informed housing choices and can be the best preventative medicine to avoid housing problems down the road.”
On top of the announced grant funding, HUD will make an additional $2.5 million available through its Housing Counseling Training Grant Program to support basic and specialized housing counseling training for housing counseling agencies, according to the press release.
In the funding announcement, also known as a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), HUD specified that it expects to make approximately 250 awards from the $43 million in funds being made available for this program.
Every federal dollar invested in housing counseling stimulates six dollars from other state and local sources, according to internal HUD estimates. More than one million households will receive counseling services through a network of over 1,700 approved counseling agencies, the department said in the press release announcing the NOFA.
Successful applicants that are awarded a comprehensive counseling grant are eligible to receive funding for reverse mortgage counseling, according to HUD’s funding notice.
The $43 million figure in 2019 continues to show a downward trajectory for HUD housing counseling grant disbursements. 2018’s figure sat at $47 million, which was down from 2017’s figure of $50 million.
Read HUD’s official NOFA for fiscal year 2019 for more detailed information. Interested applicants have until July 1, 2019 to submit an application.