HUD Archives: News Releases

Linda H. Allen
(404) 331-5001 ext. 2012
For Release
November 13, 2003

An estimated 730,000 individuals and families to benefit from housing counseling


ATLANTA - Nearly 730,000 individuals and families will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of more than $37 million in housing counseling grants announced today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez. Georgia receives $547,085. See attached chart for Georgia grant recipients.

It is estimated these grants will assist more than 430,000 people to either become first-time homeowners or remain homeowners after their purchase. The grants were awarded to 17 national and regional organizations and approximately 350 state and local housing counseling agencies. These organizations will provide counseling services and will help meet the Bush Administration's goal of increasing minority homeownership by 5.5 million families by the end of the decade.

"These housing counseling grants are an important part of this Administration's goal to expand homeownership opportunities, particularly for minorities," said Martinez. "President Bush and I are committed to opening the doors
to the American Dream to more American families."

The 17 national and regional agencies distribute much of the HUD funding to community-based grassroots organizations that provide free 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. Notably, 3 of the 17 intermediaries are faith-based, including 2 that are first time housing counseling grant recipients.

Of the $37.561 million in grants, $2.7 million is being awarded specifically to combat predatory lending, including awards to 4 national and regional intermediaries and 34 state and local organizations. Grantees will assist unwary borrowers in avoiding 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.

Additionally, $2 million is being awarded specifically for counseling in conjunction with HUD's Section 8
Homeownership Voucher Program, which allows low-income individuals to use rental vouchers to purchase homes. Awards under this category are made to 4 national intermediaries and 35 state and local agencies. These grant recipients will help program participants realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and down-payment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and risky process.

President Bush is proposing to increase HUD's Housing Counseling grant program to $45 million next year - a 12.5 percent increase. The organizations that provide counseling services help people become or remain homeowners or find rental housing. In addition, HUD-funded housing counseling agencies assist homeless persons to find the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live.

Who benefits from housing counseling?

Based on past experience, HUD anticipates the counseling grants announced today will enable approximately
257,000 would-be homeowners to learn how to improve their credit, strengthen money management skills and avoid predatory lenders and other unscrupulous practices. Another 175,000 existing homeowners will learn how to avoid delinquency and default, restructure debt and maintain their home. In addition, nearly 213,000 individuals and
families who will receive HUD-funded counseling are renters. Counseling services will help them find housing closer
to their jobs or health care as well as teach them about tenant rights. Finally, an estimated 16,000 homeless individuals and families will learn how to find emergency services and secure transitional housing.

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.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as
enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.


Note: the following key corresponds to grant type.

CC = Comprehensive Housing Counseling
S8 =
Counseling in Conjunction with HUD's Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program

State Total:


Georgia Individual Grant Recipient Summaries

Cobb Housing, Inc.
Marietta, GA
$25,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Cobb Housing, Inc. received designation from HUD as an approved housing counseling agency in 1996. Cobb
Housing, Inc.'s target population consists of individuals and families who fall within the low to moderate-income bracket considered to be around $54,400. Cobb Housing, Inc. provides homebuyer education seminars, one-on-one
counseling in pre-purchase, post purchase, default/pre-foreclosure, predatory lending, and rental counseling. Cobb Housing, Inc. uses a variety of methods to maintain contact with potential homeowners during and after the home buying process. During the past year, Cobb Housing, Inc. serviced 323 clients. Cobb Housing, Inc. is currently
working with the City of Marietta Family Self Sufficiency program in an effort to transition Section 8 renters to homeownership.

DeKalb Fulton Housing Counseling Center, Inc.
Decatur, GA
$21,629 - Comprehensive Counseling

DeKalb Fulton Housing Counseling Center, Inc. maintains a complete comprehensive housing counseling program in their two offices. The agency reaches citizens in the metropolitan Atlanta area in particular, which includes a
thirteen county area. DeKalb Fulton Housing Counseling Center, Inc. offers homebuyer education classes, addresses fair housing issues, and offers one-on-one counseling in pre-purchase, post purchase, reverse mortgage, default,
and loss mitigation. The DeKalb Fulton Housing Counseling Center, Inc. proposes to address the issue of predatory lending abuses in the communities they serve by providing initial housing counseling to the homeowner victims who come into their offices in Fulton and DeKalb counties. After an initial evaluation, they will refer the homeowners to
the Home Defense Program and the Senior Citizen Law Project to provide legal assistance. During the past year, DeKalb Fulton Housing Counseling Center, Inc. serviced 1,786 clients.

Latin American Association
Atlanta, GA
$18,315 - Comprehensive Counseling

Latin American Association (LAA) was founded in 1972. LAA is the largest HUD approved agency in the metropolitan Atlanta area whose target population is the Latino/Hispanic population. Latin American Association provides
education, advice, and advocacy for the Latino community. The mission of Latin American Association is to provide Latino families and individuals with transition services to help them adapt successfully to the larger community. This
is done through their homebuyer education seminars and one-on-one comprehensive counseling. During the past
year, Latin American Association serviced 640 clients.

Gainesville Hall County Neighborhood Revitalization Housing, Inc.
Gainesville, GA
$39,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Gainesville Hall County Neighborhood Revitalization Housing, Inc. (GHCNR) has provided homebuyer education and
one-on-one housing counseling for more than five years. HUD approved the agency in 1999 for pre-purchase and in 2002 for default counseling. GHCNR's comprehensive housing counseling program provides group and individual assistance that impact the availability of affordable housing for low and moderate income households. All counseling
is provided in English and Spanish. During the reporting year October 1, 2001 through September 20, 2002, GHCNR provided housing counseling service to 208 people. For fiscal year 2003, GHCNR will provide pre-purchase, post-purchase and mortgage default counseling, loss mitigation, home improvement and rehabilitation for all counties
within their jurisdiction.

Georgia Housing and Finance Authority

Atlanta, GA
$147,388 - Comprehensive Counseling
$21,280 - Section 8 Homeownership Voucher - Housing Counseling

Georgia Housing and Finance Authority (GHFA) is a State Housing Finance Agency. Since 1976, GHFA has provided affordable housing opportunities to low and moderate-income households throughout the State of Georgia. In 1996, GHFA merged with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and created the Housing Finance Division to better coordinate housing and development programs, including the Home Buyer and OwnHOME Loan Programs. Since 1998, GHFA has administered the State's Housing Counseling Program, providing services to over 12,500 households. GHFA continues to utilize a network of eight Consumer Credit Counseling Service agencies that together oversee 27
affiliate offices to ensure that all counties in Georgia have counseling services available to assist residents with their home buying needs. In addition to individual counseling, GHFA has a network that provides homebuyer education to
30 non-profit agencies in a group setting. In efforts to increase services and expand access to diverse populations, GHFA will offer housing counseling agreements to seven other non-profit agencies staffed with certified housing counselors.

Housing and Economic Leadership Partners, Inc.
Athens, GA
$21,629 - Comprehensive Counseling

Housing and Economic Leadership Partners, Inc. (HELP) has been active in housing counseling since 1993 and they have four experienced housing counselors on staff. HELP coordinates with other organizations such as Athens Area Homeless Coalition, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Athens-Clarke County Family Connection Partnership, and the State of Georgia Community Affairs to help assist in providing affordable housing for low and moderate-income households. The agency provides housing counseling for credit and budgeting, pre-purchase, post-purchase,
default, delinquency, home equity conversion mortgages, and landlord/tenant. HELP proposes to serve 230 clients from October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004.

City of Albany, Georgia
Albany, GA
$30,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

The City of Albany Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD) has been HUD approved since 1992. Since its approval, the agency has experienced a significant increase in the number of clients who have received delinquency/default and/or pre-purchase housing counseling required by both HUD and the Department of
Community affairs (DCA). There is a definite need for housing counseling in the applicant's community. Countless efforts are made to assist clients in solving housing problems and/or meeting their housing needs through a
counseling plan designed uniquely for each client. Follow-up counseling is provided and encouraged on an as
needed basis. The City of Albany Department of Planning & Community Development has designed flyers and brochures, which are distributed throughout the service area informing them of DPCD housing programs. In fiscal
year 2002, DPCD provided counseling for 150 clients.

Economic Opportunity for Savannah Chatham County Area, Inc.
Savannah, GA
$51,460 - Comprehensive Counseling

The Economic Opportunity for Savannah Chatham County Area, Inc. (EOA) participates in strategies on remedying
the effects of past discrimination and limitations in the community. Their housing counseling program services are offered to all citizens in their targeted areas, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or
family status. In addition, they provide outreach activities to all zip codes in their service area through their many programs. EOA provides the following types of housing counseling activities: loss mitigation, default and
delinquency, fair housing, home equity conversion, pre-rental, money management and budgeting. EOA served 567 clients in fiscal year 2002 instead of their proposed number of 500.

Appalachian Housing & Redevelopment Corporation
Rome, GA
$41,007 - Comprehensive Counseling
$15,600 - Section 8 Homeownership Voucher - Housing Counseling

The Appalachian Housing and Redevelopment Corporation (AHRC) has secured funding from a variety of resources
and implemented comprehensive services and programs to benefit the low-income population of the City of Rome
and Floyd County. Programs have been aimed at: reducing crimes, encouraging self-sufficiency, encouraging
business development, job training, education, etc. The Housing Counseling Program began with funding received
from the fiscal year 1999 grant cycle and has grown tremendously over the past four years. AHRC predicted it
would serve 240 clients from its fiscal year 2002 funding. However, they exceeded their expectation by 66% as
they successfully served 366 clients.

Gwinnett Housing Resource Partnership, Inc.
Duluth, GA
$54,777 - Comprehensive Counseling

Gwinnett Housing Resource Partnership was formed in 1992 as a community response to the growing need for
housing services for low and moderate-income households in Gwinnett County. Bilingual counseling is provided for
all counseling services. The agency is the only Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) in Gwinnett County, Georgia. They partnered with Neighborworks, AARP, Habitat for Humanity and United Way. For fiscal year 2003, GHRP will provide the following counseling activities: pre-purchase, post-purchase, mortgage delinquency, default, loss mitigation, financial fitness workshops, and homebuyer education workshops.

Cooperative Resource Center, Inc.
Atlanta, GA
$15,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Cooperative Resource Center, Inc. obtained the HUD approval as a housing counseling agency in April 2003. Cooperative Resource Center, Inc.'s mission is to maximize innovation, productivity and efficiency in the
development of affordable housing communities in Georgia. Cooperative Resource Center, Inc. will provide comprehensive housing counseling services to very low to moderate-income residents of the metro Atlanta area, particularly Fulton County, Georgia. In the 2002 Fulton County Annual Action Plan, it is stated that affordability is
a critical issue for very low and low-income households. The agency will participate in ongoing training which will enable them to stay abreast of information needed to ensure their client's needs are effectively met. Cooperative Resource Center, Inc. proposes to serve 150 HUD clients in fiscal year 2003.

Middle Georgia Community Action Agency, Inc.
Warner Robins, GA
$15,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Middle Georgia Community Action Agency has been a HUD certified counseling agency since 1979. The agency has provided comprehensive housing counseling services since that time. Middle Georgia Community Action Agency
served a total of 335 clients during the grant period of 2001-2002. The total number of clients served exceeded
the agency's expectation. By providing counseling to their clients, they were able to prevent homelessness in both
renters and homeowners and relocate some that were displaced. As reported in the City of Warner Robins Consolidated Plan for 2002-2005, low, moderate and middle-income households are suffering a housing crisis with middle-income households being severely affected. Therefore, Middle Georgia Community Action Agency, Inc.
proposes to serve 820 clients in fiscal year 2003, which is a 41% increase over fiscal year 2002.

East Athens Development Corporation, Inc.
Athens, GA
$15,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

East Athens Development Corporation, Inc. received designation from HUD as an approved housing counseling
agency in January 2002. East Athens Development Corporation, Inc. serves eleven counties in the state of Georgia. East Athens Development Corporation, Inc. accomplishes their mission by promoting awareness and understanding
of housing needs through housing counseling, outreach, education on fair housing rights, and providing mediation services addressing housing complaints. East Athens Development Corporation, Inc. serviced 165 clients October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2002. The agency's performance can be characterized by goals being met utilizing their funds. All goals were met and the results were successful. The agency proposes to counsel 300 clients in the fiscal year 2003.

Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County
Athens, GA
$15,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County (UGACC) has been providing housing counseling services to residents throughout Northeast Georgia since 1979. The agency's counseling services assist residents in finding and keeping their homes, as well as, expanding housing choices in Athens-Clarke County. The agency puts forth every effort to serve at least 50 clients annually. However, UGACC exceeded their goal last year and provided counseling to 53 clients. Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County proposed goal for fiscal year 2003 is to successfully serve 50 clients as well. The agency's counseling services include fair housing, mortgage default, home equity conversion, homebuyer education and budgeting.


Content Archived: March 15, 2011