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October 4, 2001
HUD ANNOUNCES $17.5 MILLION IN GRANTS TO PROMOTE HOMEOWNERSHIP
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $17.5 million in housing counseling assistance grants to 11 national and regional intermediary agencies and 358 local and state housing counseling agencies. These grants are part of HUD's on-going efforts to promote homeownership. They will be used nationwide to counsel both current and would-be homeowners.
"This is another example of HUD working with non-profit groups and the housing industry to increase homeownership across the nation," said HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. "These grants will help take the uncertainty out of homeownership for thousands of Americans, allowing them to take part in the American dream and own a home."
The 11 intermediary agencies will receive grants totaling $9.95 million. These agencies distribute much of the HUD funding to grassroots level affiliates and branches that provide free advice and guidance to low- and moderate-income families seeking to improve their housing conditions. In addition, the intermediaries help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among housing counseling providers.
The 358 local and state grants include $6.6 million to 340 local housing counseling agencies and $1 million to 18 state housing finance agencies.
HUD's housing counseling grants enable anyone -- current homeowners, prospective buyers or renters -- to get the counseling they need to improve their housing conditions and be responsible owners and renters. By improving the quality of renter and homeowner education, the competitive grants help families make better, more informed home purchases; improve their ability to budget for needed home expenses and regular mortgage or rent payments; and, make the lending process less frightening.
Housing counselors offer consumers advice and guidance on a wide variety of housing topics, ranging from providing information on the homebuying process and financing a home to recognizing and avoiding predatory lending tactics, personal budgeting and credit repair; from default assistance and foreclosure avoidance to fair housing rights; from meeting the responsibilities of tenancy to obtaining a home equity conversion mortgage.
HUD awards annual grants under this program through a competitive process. Organizations that apply for grants must be HUD-approved and are subject to biannual performance reviews to maintain their HUD-approved status.