U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Press Release

HUD Awards Over $38,000 in Housing Counseling Grants in Wisconsin

HUD establishing Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded over $38,000 in grants to support 3 housing counseling organizations in Wisconsin to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures. HUD’s housing counseling grants and the additional funding they help to leverage will households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes. See list of all counseling agencies awarded  funding today.

HUD is also establishing a new Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee to help the Department provide consumers with the knowledge they need to find and sustain decent housing. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 requires HUD’s Secretary to appoint no more than 12 individuals from various backgrounds to offer advice to the Department regarding the functions of the Office of Housing Counseling. Read HUD’s Notice, which includes information on applying for a position on the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee.

“Access to knowledge and information is vital to every family’s success,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “These grants will expand housing opportunities for families across our nation. The evidence is clear: housing counseling works. We look forward to working with our housing counseling partners to empower American families with the tools to prosper.”

Antonio R. Riley, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator indicated, “In Wisconsin, housing counseling grants will play an integral role in educating consumers and increasing access to credit at time when mortgage interest rates are near record low. Achieving and retaining the American dream will be within the reach of more consumers.”

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. Read a summary of each  grant, organized by state.

Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Urban Institute continues to find substantial benefits to housing counseling for families who purchase their first homes and those struggling to prevent foreclosure. Read more about research evidence on the role housing counseling can play in reducing mortgage delinquency and foreclosure and helping first-time buyers  access and sustain homeownership.

Grant recipients utilize funding to address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs. This includes helping homebuyers 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. 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.

In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. 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.

There are many ways to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Go to www.hud.gov/findacounselor to search by state. Call 1-800-569-4287 for our interactive telephone directory. Get the free housing counseling i-phone app from the app store (not yet available for android). Finally, watch HUD’s video on how housing counseling can help families find (and keep) housing.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at twww.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news

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