During this Holiday Season, some families will be celebrating under a cloud because they are at risk of losing their home. As foreclosures rise and the faulty foreclosure scandal continues, many Virginia families rely on housing counselors to guide them through the process and help keep them in their homes.
To help keep families in their homes and prevent foreclosures, the Obama Administration has announced nearly $73 million in housing counseling grants to more than 500 national, regional and local organizations. The grants announced today represent a $13 million, or 22 percent increase over last year’s funding level. U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan said:
“These organizations are on the front lines of helping families who are desperate to remain in their homes…Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that we support these agencies that are working with struggling families on a one-to-one basis to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial futures.”
Organizations in Virginia will receive over $900,000 to support a wide variety of services such as:
- 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. With foreclosures at critical levels nationwide, these services are more important than ever.
- assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM). These agencies will 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.
- combat predatory lending by helping unwary borrowers review their loan documentation, and 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.
- housing counseling services help people become or remain homeowners or find rental housing, and assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. Grant recipients also help home buyers and homeowners realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and downpayment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process.