A great blog post by James Perry, the Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, about how we are shooting ourselves in the foot with federal budget cuts to housing counseling:
As the government stepped in to make things right, they turned to housing counselors to do the legwork. Housing counselors are professionals trained in helping families navigate the business of homeownership and skilled in confronting even the most unscrupulous lenders. They have had to keep pace with an ever-changing maze of new rules and programs to help keep families in their homes. Despite the best efforts of housing counselors across America, we have yet to make it out of the woods, because of continued intransigence from lenders. The US housing market is still mired in a horrible slump, with depressed home prices, a weak sales market, and pathetic levels of new home construction.
Despite the ongoing need and the clear evidence that housing counseling represents a key component to resuscitating the housing market, Congress just took a swipe at America’s fragile recovery. They voted to dismantle funding for housing counseling, a program that helps millions of Americans become homeowners and save their homes from foreclosures caused by greedy and reckless lending practices. Housing counseling agencies are on the frontline of the housing crisis, so why would Congress cut all funding for the program?