February 29, 2012
WHITE HOUSE AND HUD HIGHLIGHT DENVER RESIDENTS AS "CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE" AND LEADERS IN HOUSING COUNSELING
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, March 1st in Los Angeles, California, the White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development will honor Charlotte O'Donnell and Helen Taylor of Denver, as two of eleven housing counselors and HUD-approved organizations being recognized as Champions of Change for their hard work, perseverance and dedication to their communities. O'Donnell and Taylor and have been selected for outstanding commitment and achievement representative of their collective work of thousands of housing counselors across the United States.
"Housing counselors work tremendously hard, each and every day, to help families realize the American dream," said White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett. "From helping homeowners avoid foreclosure to making sure tenants understand their rights to working with borrowers to restore their credit, the men and women we honor today truly are Champions of Change."
HUD's Rocky Mountain Region's Administrator Rick Garcia added: "From serving on the front lines of the battle against foreclosure since the housing crisis began, to assisting homeowners and tenants to improve their housing conditions, we owe a debt of gratitude to skilled, objective and knowledgeable housing counselors."
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama's Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.
Housing counseling assistance was developed over 40 years ago at a time of severe disinvestment in housing, unaffordable interest rates, high unemployment and irresponsible lending practices. Today, HUD approves, monitors and supports counseling organizations and tracks their output. Recent initiatives have extended the number and location of HUD-approved housing counseling organizations and reduced the amount of time and complexity of the process to award HUD housing counseling grants.
To learn more about our Champions and watch video of the event, visit online (www.whitehouse.gov/champions).
Charlotte O'Donnell currently manages a HUD approved housing counseling program and underwrites down payment and closing cost assistance loans for first time homebuyers who meet the 80% ami guidelines, at Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC.) Ms. O'Donnell has been engaged in housing counseling and education for 25 years. She has been active in many public, government and private sector initiatives to bring education and counseling to individuals and families.
Helen Taylor, Program Director and Comprehensive Housing Counselor, brings over 13 years of experience in the mortgage industry and over 10 years of direct counseling experience to Northeast Denver Housing Center. Ms. Taylor has also earned the Reverse Mortgage Counseling Certification, which required passing a rigorous national examination. Ms. Taylor has held leadership positions in the industry and has served two terms as Treasurer for the Colorado Housing Counseling Coalition.
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 at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDnews, on facebook at www.facebook.com/HUD, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.