The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded nearly $380,000 to seven Minnesota organizations to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures. “Whether you’re a first-time buyer or trying to keep the place you’ve always called home, knowledge is the key to financial empowerment,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “We’re proud to support our housing counseling partners as they help American families achieve stability and prosperity.”
Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator indicated, “housing counseling grants awarded in Minnesota will help educate consumers and increase much needed access to credit opportunities. The funding is part of nearly $6 million awarded across the country to directly support the housing counseling services provided by 33 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 20 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 248 local housing counseling agencies.
National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that assist low- and moderate-income families to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers.
Grant recipients utilize funding to address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs. Grantees also help households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options.
Finally, grantees also assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or (HECM). 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.
Housing counseling agencies support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation, to avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and even foreclosure. Likewise, foreclosure prevention counseling helps homeowners facing delinquency or default employ strategies, including expense reduction, negotiation with lenders and loan servicers, and loss mitigation, to avoid foreclosure.
The Minnesota 2015 Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grantees are:
Minneapolis: African Development Center of Minnesota
Blaine: Anoka County Community Action Program, Inc.
Saint Cloud: Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Cloud
St Louis Park: Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin
Minneapolis: Homeownership Preservation Foundation
Saint Paul: Minnesota Homeownership Center
Saint Paul: Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc.