June 19, 2013

Housing Counseling Works!

Written by:

Navigating the world of housing choices isn’t easy.  Should I rent or buy? What can I really afford? Will I have to move away once I retire?  What does all this paperwork really mean?  How do I know I’m being treated fairly by my landlord? By my bank?

These questions can be daunting – but help is only a phone call (or click) away!

Since 1968, HUD’s housing counseling program helped Americans make all kinds of housing related decisions.  HUD-approved housing counseling agencies help families find affordable housing, save for a security deposit or downpayment, understand and improve their use of credit and reduce debt, recognize discrimination and fight scams, prevent foreclosures, and avoid eviction and homelessness.

HUD’s new Office of Housing Counseling is committed to supporting a strong, independent network of nonprofit housing counseling agencies.  To do that, HUD is awarding more than $40 million in housing counseling grants to hundreds of counseling organizations across the country.  More than 1.6 million households will have the opportunity to find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes thanks to these HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.

Recent studies have shown that pre-purchase counseling reduces the likelihood of delinquency by a third and that 70 percent of at-risk homeowners who received housing counseling got the help they needed to keep their homes, even in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.   That’s why we’re spreading the word – housing counseling works!

And it’s not just for those families looking to buy a home or facing foreclosure – renters and seniors also have resources available to them.   Housing counselors can help lower-income households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to those struggling to repair credit problems which restrict their options.  FHA-insured reverse mortgages (called HECMs) that let seniors remain in their homes  by leveraging the equity they have earned to pay expenses  actually require participation in housing counseling so that seniors can understand the costs and benefits of this complex program.

June is Homeownership Month, a time to celebrate homeownership as a cornerstone of building wealth and stabilizing neighborhoods.  But it’s also a time to reflect on the need to promote responsible and sustainable homeownership while embracing the fact that not everyone’s needs are best met by owning a home.  And while making the decision to become a homeowner is a complex one – it’s not one you ever have to make alone.

Getting help is easy.  You can search online for a housing counseling agency near you or call HUD’s interactive voice system at (800) 569-4287.

The verdict is in – housing counseling works and it’s available in your community!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *