The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded more than $36 million in grants to national, regional and local housing counseling organizations, HUD announced Tuesday.
While the grants are not allocated directly to reverse mortgage counseling, they will support counseling overall, with agencies responsible for allocating funding for their reverse mortgage operations. In 2013 the agency changed the way it allocates funds to include all counseling funding under a single grant rather than separating reverse mortgage counseling funds.
More than $34 million of the total funding will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 29 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 20 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 215 local housing counseling agencies, according to HUD.
In addition, HUD is awarding $2 million to three national organizations to train housing counselors. These organizations include the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Inc. ($589,680); National Council of La Raza ($559,458); and Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. ($850,862).
“This is going to bolster our housing market,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro, in an announcement. “For consumers in the housing market, knowledge is power and these grants [will help consumers] avoid unfair practices and secure a homie that serves as a platform for future success.”
The grants will be a “game changer,” for both current and future generations, he said.
The housing counseling housing grants were competed through HUD’s two-year (FY2014 – FY2015) Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grant Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published March 4, 2014.
HUD also recently published a notice in the Federal Register regarding the creation of the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC), a federal advisory committee established pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Appointment nominations for the new committee are being accepted through May 14, 2015.
The committee will provide advice to the the Office of Housing Counseling (OHC).
“The value of HCFAC will be to advise the OHC to meet its mission to provide individuals and families with the knowledge they need to obtain, sustain, and improve their housing through a strong national network of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and HUD-certified counselors,” states an announcement in the Federal Register. “The HCFAC, however, shall have no role in reviewing or awarding of OHC housing counseling grants and procurement contracts.”
View the 2015 state and local housing counseling grantees here.
Written by Cassandra Dowell