January 10, 2008
HUD ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO HELP SOUTH SHORE FAMILIES FIND OR KEEP HOMES
$44 million awarded nationwide; $3.2 million awarded in Massachusetts
Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell announced $40,000 in funding to Quincy Community Action Programs to help families and individuals find or keep homes.
The grant, part of $44 million nationwide and $3.2 million awarded in Massachusetts, is being provided under HUD's Housing Counseling Program, which provides funding to help local agencies assist families in becoming first-time homebuyers by helping them to 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. Housing
counseling agencies also provide assistance to homeowners who are facing mortgage delinquency and default. The
list of 48 HUD-approved agencies in Massachusetts can be found on www.fha.gov.
"The value of housing counseling cannot be overstated," said Caswell. "Housing education programs offered by
Quincy Community Action Programs and other HUD-certified housing counseling agencies help families make informed choices before they take the important step of homeownership. Getting the correct information at the beginning of the process will help families avoid mortgage troubles later on."
Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization service provider that addresses the housing needs of low- and moderate-income residents of Quincy and surrounding Norfolk County communities. Services include homeownership education, mortgage default and foreclosure assistance, tenant and landlord
training, homelessness prevention, credit and budget counseling, down payment assistance, lead abatement and
home improvement loan programs, and Home Equity Conversion Mortgage counseling for seniors.
Over the past year, QCAP has provided homeownership education to 250 people, 95 of whom have become first-
time homebuyers. Executive Director Beth Ann Strollo notes that QCAP has seen a dramatic increase in the number
of people contacting their office at risk of mortgage default, but they have been able to help 27 households avoid foreclosure.
"The grant from the HUD helps QCAP serve hundreds of people every year. We help first time homebuyers realize
their dream of homeownership through classes and one-on-one counseling. We help senior citizens to continue
living in homes that they have lived in for years through our reverse mortgage counseling. We help homeowners
who are at risk of foreclosure to maintain their housing. This past year, we have had a dramatic increase in the number of people contacting our office who are at risk of foreclosure. QCAP's Homeownership Coordinator assesses every case and uses all the tools at her disposal to try to keep them in their homes. Finally, QCAP helps tenants in
our service area to maintain or secure rental housing by providing counseling and workshops. I want to take this opportunity to thank HUD for its continued support. With HUD's support, we will be able to help more homeowners
at risk of foreclosure in the coming year," said Strollo.
This year with foreclosures on the rise, HUD is emphasizing the importance of housing counseling services more
When announcing the funding to Quincy Community Action Programs, Mr. Caswell also discussed a new program
that may help homeowners who are facing foreclosure. The program, FHASecure, is being administered by the
Federal Housing Administration, the branch of HUD that insures mortgages against default.
Under the FHASecure plan, families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage payments
before their adjustable loans reset to higher rates, may qualify for refinancing. Nationwide two million adjustable
loans are expected to reset to higher rates this year, which could cause a hardship for families already struggling
to pay household expenses.
"FHASecure is designed for people who are good borrowers, but were steered into high cost loans with teaser
rates," said Caswell.
Since being announced in September, 579 adjustable rate mortgages in Massachusetts have been refinanced into
an FHA loan.
Under FHASecure, eligible homeowners will be required to meet strict underwriting guidelines and pay a mortgage insurance premium, which offsets the risk to FHA's insurance fund at no cost to the taxpayer. FHASecure, like all
FHA products, offers unprecedented foreclosure prevention assistance. To qualify for FHASecure, eligible
homeowners must meet the following criteria:
- A history of on-time mortgage payments before the borrower's teaser rates expired and loans reset;
- Interest rates must have or will reset between June 2005 and December 2009;
- Three percent cash or equity in the home;
- A sustained history of employment; and
- Sufficient income to make the mortgage payment.
For more information about FHA Secure and other homeownership and foreclosure prevention programs, please contact any of the 48 local HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in Massachusetts. For the list, visit www.fha.gov.