(404) 331-5001 ext. 2013
October 26, 2006
HUD AWARDS HOUSING COUNSELING GRANTS TO FOUR NON-PROFITS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, ATHENS, GEORGIA
ATHENS - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Bob Young is in Athens today to award four non-profits Housing Counseling Grants. The ceremony took place at the University of Georgia's campus.
Earlier this month, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson awarded more than $39 million in housing counseling grants to approximately 850,000 families who will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of these grants. "Under the Bush Administration, more families are receiving housing counseling services than ever before, and more are purchasing and keeping their homes," said Jackson.
In addition, these housing counseling grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners or remaining homeowners after their purchase. Renters and homeless individuals and families will also benefit from the counseling offered by the grants. Grants were awarded to 17 national and regional organizations and more than 400 state and local housing counseling agencies.
"The organizations providing these services are helping to meet the President's
goal of increasing homeownership opportunities, particularly for minorities," said Jackson.
National and regional agencies distribute much of the HUD 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. Of the more than $39 million in housing counseling grants, $3 million
is being awarded in supplemental funding for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling. These funds will 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.
The organizations that provide housing counseling services help people become or remain homeowners or find rental housing. Grant recipients 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. Grantees also help combat predatory lending by helping unwary borrowers avoid 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. Moreover, HUD-funded housing counseling agencies assist homeless persons to find the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live.
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 biennial performance reviews to maintain their HUD-approved status.
The Georgia recipients receiving grants at today's ceremony are:
University of Georgia's Family and Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Service
The University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) received approval from HUD as a housing counseling agency in 2004. Housing education and counseling are made available to counties throughout Georgia by County Cooperative Extension FACS Agents. The Education and Counseling Housing Outreach program provides homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, post-purchase education, financial literacy and the promotion of Energy Star products and energy conservation. At this time ten rural counties are provided with housing counseling and education. With the grant, the University of Georgia plans to counsel four hundred (400) clients.
East Athens Development Corporation
East Athens Development Corporation, Inc. is both a non-profit, Community Based Development Organization
(CBDO), as well as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) serving eleven low to moderate income earning counties in the state of Georgia. EADC became a HUD approved agency in January of 1992. Their housing counseling activities include delinquency, budget/money management, home improvement, HECM, and fair housing. During the 2005 fiscal year, this agency was able to reach and assist over 383 clients. Ten clients became first time homebuyers, 14 entered into lease purchasing programs, 14 clients successfully avoided foreclosure and 18 clients that were affected by predatory lending practices were able to either have their mortgage modified, refinanced, or otherwise assisted to avoid foreclosure.
Housing and Economic Leadership Partners, Inc.
Housing and Economic Leadership Partners, Inc., (H.E.L.P.) was chartered in 1991, and began operation in July
1993. Their mission is to provide affordable housing and economic opportunities to low and moderate income
residents of the State of Georgia. HELP serves nine counties in the Northeast area of Georgia. HELP offers comprehensive counseling in homebuyer education, pre-purchase, delinquency/mortgage default, rental counseling, credit budgeting and HECM. HELP 's clients cover the spectrum. They have a large proportion of clients with disabilities and they are seeing more and more elderly clients interested in the reverse mortgage. During the last
fiscal year, HELP successfully counseled 221 clients with issues pertaining to housing.
Area Committee To Improve Opportunities Now, Inc.
The Area Committee To Improve Opportunities Now (ACTION), Inc. is a non-profit, community action agency that
was incorporated in 1965 to address the needs of the low-income citizens of Clarke, Greene, Jackson, Madison, and Morgan counties in Northeast Georgia. ACTION, Inc. is governed by a Board of Directors whose members represent
the public, private, and low-income sectors of each of the ten counties that we serve. ACTION, Inc. provides services that help reduce the impacts of poverty for thousands of Northeast Georgia Families, ultimately helping
these families become more self-sufficient. Major activities include adult education, case management, crisis prevention, employment, and nutrition. Previously, during the 2004-2005 fiscal year, ACTION was able to serve a
total of 187 clients.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership; creating affordable housing
opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, and people with disabilities. 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 and espanol.hud.gov.