The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week is marking the 10th anniversary of the initial establishment of HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling, saying that throughout October the Office will be celebrating its contributions to the Department.
“Whether it was helping homeowners through the foreclosure challenges of the 2012 housing crisis, responding to the housing needs of victims of disasters, or the continuing housing relief and recovery resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, housing counselors have been there over the last decade to support families in making critical housing choices and equipping themselves for the future,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Counseling David Berenbaum in a statement.
Taking the time to recognize how the office has contributed to HUD’s posture in serving its overarching mission for the past decade will be at the forefront of the office’s communications throughout the month, Berenbaum explained.
“This month, we recognize not only our role in helping people stay in their homes during times of crisis, but also in supporting a network of HUD Certified Housing Counselors who serve some 3,000 clients a day,” he said.
The office was initially established on October 1, 2012 as a new office reporting directly to the Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner. Previously, the office was a part of the Office of Single Family Housing until the 2012 change.
HUD listed some of the accomplishments of the office during that time, including “support[ing] 12.2 million households who sought housing counseling assistance through a HUD-approved housing counseling agency; provid[ing] more than $450 million in grant funding to HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and intermediary organizations; develop[ing] and implement[ing] an intensive certification process for housing counselors, resulting in 4,000 counselors currently certified by HUD; [and] implement[ing] new online and telephonic search tools used by more than 4,800 consumers each day to easily connect with local housing counseling agencies.”
In June, RMD asked Berenbaum about the availability of HUD-approved counselors to meet the current levels of demand in certain states. The Office of Housing Counseling said that its corps of dedicated reverse mortgage counselors is at capacity, which should make the availability of such counseling sessions easier for those seeking reverse mortgage counseling.
“First on the point of availability of counselors under federal requirements, I’m happy to report that the number of HUD-certified housing counselors – particularly those in the reverse mortgage space – is at 100%,” Berenbaum said in response to RMD’s query. “So, availability nationwide of counselors in that space is excellent at this time, and we hope actually to grow that number because we do [see] future growth in the reverse mortgage program and products that are available to consumers.”