|HUD No. 10-060
December 23, 2010
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES NEARLY $73 MILLION IN COUNSELING GRANTS TO HELP FAMILIES FIND AND KEEP HOUSING
Kansas receives $88,681 in HUD funding to support counseling agencies in Topeka and Wichita
KANSAS CITY, KS - In an effort to help families find decent housing and to prevent future foreclosures, the Obama Administration today announced nearly $73 million in housing counseling grants to more than 500 national, regional
and local organizations. As a result of the funding announced today, hundreds of thousands of households will have
a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of the housing counseling and
counseling training grants awarded today by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. Two housing counseling agencies in Kansas will receive $88,681: Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI) in Topeka
will receive $46,307; and, Urban League of Kansas (ULK) in Wichita will receive $42,374.
HCCI has been a HUD-approved housing counseling agency since 1978. The agency has grown from its start in 1972 as a small tenant advocacy organization to a comprehensive housing counseling agency with over a $1 million operating budget. HCCI has a main office in Topeka and branch offices in Lawrence and Manhattan. HCCI provides services for one-on-one counseling and educational classes in a 22 county service area in northeast Kansas and
also one-on-one counseling through a 1-800 telephone number and e-mail. HCCI strives to increase economic
security and self-sufficiency; raise community awareness of fair housing practices and eliminate discrimination in housing opportunities to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality, affordable homes for all. For more information on this agency visit their website www.hcci-ks.org.
ULK was organized in 1954. The agency's mission is to facilitate economic self-reliance and an improved quality of
life for Urban League of Kansas clients through education, empowerment and self-respect. The agency's comprehensive housing counseling program employs counselors to provide services in the areas of: HECM/reverse mortgage counseling, pre-rental counseling, pre-purchase counseling, post-purchase counseling, landlord/tenant relations, foreclosure prevention and homebuyer education workshops. All of these services reflect the agency's housing and economic development strategy by empowering all people to attain self-sufficiency, and improve standards of living and eradicating barriers to equality. For more information on this agency, visit their website at www.kansasul.org.
The grants announced today represent a $13 million, or 22 percent increase over last year's funding level. In announcing the grant awards, Donovan said HUD-approved housing counseling agencies are a critical part of the nation's housing recovery.
"These organizations are on the front lines of helping families who are desperate to remain in their homes," said Donovan. "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."
Housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners and remaining homeowners after
their purchase. HUD-approved counseling agencies not only provide homeownership counseling, but also offer
financial literacy training to renters and homeless individuals and families.
"Now, more than ever, it is crucial that Americans better understand how to manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and secure their financial future." said Donovan. "This critical funding will help counseling organizations continue to assist families in making more informed choices before they purchase a home and counsel families facing foreclosure."
National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD's housing counseling grant funding to community-based grassroots organizations that provide advice and guidance to low- and moderate-income families seeking to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling
services and enhance coordination among other counseling providers.
The organizations that provide 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 homebuyers 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. These agencies also help 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 through Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM).
In addition, grantees help 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. 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. With foreclosures at critical levels nationwide, these services are more important than ever.
HUD awards annual grants under the housing counseling program through a competitive process. Organizations that apply for grants must be HUD-approved and are subject to performance reviews to maintain their HUD-approved status.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.