HUD Archives: News Releases


HUD No. 03-124OH
Anne Scherrieb
(312) 353-6236 ext. 2666
For Release
Thursday
November 13, 2003

BUSH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $37 MILLION IN GRANTS TO PROMOTE HOMEOWNERSHIP AND HOUSING FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES
Agencies in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, East Cleveland, Fremont, Painesville, St. Clairsville and Youngstown receive a total of $242,465

WASHINGTON � 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.

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.

"HUD is committed to making it easier for more families to realize the dream of homeownership," said. Joseph P.
Galvan HUD Regional Director for the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin).� "Housing counselors will help more Americans, particularly minorities, to achieve that dream."

Of the $37.561 million in grants, $2.7 million is being awarded specifically to combat predatory lending (PL), 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 (S8) 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.�

Ohio recipients include:

Akron

    Fair Housing Contact Service - $27,835 � Comprehensive Counseling (CC)

Canton

    Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority - $23,535 - CC

Cincinnati

    Better Housing League of Greater Cincinnati - $24,168 - CC

Columbus

    Homes On The Hill Community Development Corporation - $18,667 - CC
    Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission - $18,667 - CC

East Cleveland

    Lutheran Housing Corporation - $20,000 - CC

Fremont

    WSOS Community Action Commission, Inc. - $33,336 - CC

Painesville

    Fair Housing Resources Center, Inc. - $27,835 - CC

St. Clairsville

    Community Action Commission of Belmont County - $35,169 - CC

Youngstown

    Children's and Family Services - $13,253 - CC

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.

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Ohio summaries follow.

Better Housing League of Greater Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

$24,168 � Comprehensive Counseling

The Better Housing League of Greater Cincinnati (BHL) founded 35 years ago, has been a regional leader to establish housing counseling standards and primarily serves the Greater Cincinnati urban area, including the surrounding Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties.� BHL received initial certification as a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in 1996 and has evolved to be most active in the Greater Cincinnati urban area. The housing counseling staff of five professional full-time counselors offers in excess of an average of 12 years housing counseling experience/ per counselor. BHL counselors are American Homeowner Education and Counseling Training Institute (AHECTI) certified and capable of delivering a full range of pre/post purchase counseling. BHL, one of 25 counseling agencies linked to the National HUD Telephone Referral Network for HECM Counseling, is actively involved in Home Equity Conversion Mortgage counseling.

Children's and Family Services, Youngstown, OH

$13,253 � Comprehensive Counseling

Created in January 2002, Children's and Family Services provides direct housing counseling, financial education based programs to individuals, group workshops and local community organizations.� Housing counseling services include:� homeownership workshops, pre/ post- purchase occupancy counseling, rental occupancy, mortgage default,
mortgage loss mitigation and HECM counseling. The counseling agency's Housing Counseling Program Director and Housing Counselor/ Coordinator deliver comprehensive housing counseling assistance to the Youngstown community.�

Community Action Commission of Belmont County, St. Clairsville, OH

$35,169 � Comprehensive Counseling

The Community Action Commission of Belmont County (CAC) has provided first-time homebuyer education training since 1996. The agency received certification as a HUD-approved housing counseling agency in January 1997. It is staffed by three professional and well-trained housing counselors who conduct first-time homebuyer classes covering the following topics:� home selection; financing; pre/post-closing costs; budgeting; credit; job stability; home maintenance; and insurance.� CAC also provides HECM counseling to senior citizens as a component of the "Elderly Choice Workshop." CAC has sponsored Home Counseling Training and provided counseling for over 875 persons in
home ownership, budgeting, credit repair, mortgage foreclosure prevention, loss mitigation, reverse mortgage and fair housing practices.� Housing counseling assistance is delivered to citizens of Belmont County, OH, and adjacent Marshall County including Wheeling, West Virginia.�

Fair Housing Contact Service, Akron, OH

$27,835 � Comprehensive Counseling

Fair Housing Contract Services (FHCS) was certified as a HUD-approved counseling agency in 1985 and primarily services the Akron, Ohio area. The counseling agency responds to inquiries involving rental issues, counseling to tenants and homeowners on property management and financial management. Housing counseling assistance is delivered by six housing counseling staff persons primarily in the following program areas: housing discrimination investigation; tenant/landlord counseling; first-time homebuyers counseling, predatory sub-prime lending and housing research and technical assistance to local communities.� Additionally, FHCS provides housing counseling to land-contract home purchasers, clients facing mortgage foreclosure, and senior citizens interested in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Program (HECM).

Fair Housing Resources Center, Inc., Painsville, OH

$27,835 � Comprehensive Counseling

Fair Housing Resources Center, Inc., a community-based advocacy organization, serves the entire Lake County, Ohio area.� Housing assistance provided by the agency has resulted in increased client homeownership and/ or rental opportunities. Housing counseling services include pre-occupancy counseling, pre-rental counseling, rent delinquency counseling and post-occupancy counseling. Housing counseling provided by the Executive Director, along with a counseling staff of four (4) Housing Specialists, deliver a broad range of housing counseling assistance to the community.�

Homes On The Hill Development Corporation, Columbus, OH

$18,667 � Comprehensive Counseling

Homes On The Hill Development Corporation (HOTH) received certification as a HUD-approved housing counseling agency within the past three (3) years. Housing counseling assistance is provided in the areas of pre-purchase, fair housing, budgeting for mortgage payments, money management and housing care/maintenance. Housing counseling assistance programs include direct housing counseling, down payment assistance, identification/avoidance of predatory lending practices and referral to related area housing services. The counseling agency's professional staff, consisting of three (3) counselors, primarily services the Greater Hilltop area of Columbus, Ohio, an area included in the city's Residential Tax Incentive Plan. HOTH offers an extensive English and Spanish Homeownership Program covering mortgage documentation, budgeting, homeowners insurance and home inspection /maintenance.������

Lutheran Housing Corporation, East Cleveland, OH

$20,000 � Comprehensive Counseling

Lutheran Housing Corporation (LHC) has delivered comprehensive housing counseling assistance serving Cuyahoga County for the past 30 years.� Housing counseling services delivered by the housing counseling agency include pre-purchase, post-purchase, mortgage delinquency and default resolution, home equity conversion mortgage (HECM), loss mitigation, outreach initiatives, and renters assistance. LHC's housing counseling staff consists of a Housing Counseling Coordinator and four (4) full-time professional counselors.� Individual housing counselors, many with over 20 years housing counseling experience, deliver a broad range of housing counseling assistance to the East Cleveland area. LHC counseling staff have serviced in excess of 30,000 clients during their counseling careers.

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Columbus, OH

$18,667 � Comprehensive Counseling

Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) provides housing counseling assistance to clients in Franklin County including the city of Columbus, Ohio. MORPC provides housing counseling assistance, Federal Home Loan Bank counseling and administers a down payment assistance program.� The MORPC counseling staff, two (2) professionally trained housing counselors, offer extensive experience in the areas of real estate administration, teaching and program administration. Counseling activities include pre-occupancy and individual client counseling sessions.

Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, Canton, OH

$23,535 � Comprehensive Counseling

Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA), located centrally in Stark County, delivers various housing counseling services including homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, post-purchase counseling, money/ debt management, credit restructuring, renters assistance and mortgage delinquency. SMHA's housing counseling program, in operation for the past six years, encourages group participants in the Homebuyer Education workshop followed by individual one-on-one counseling sessions.

WSOS Community Action Commission, Fremont, OH

$33,336 � Comprehensive Counseling

WSOS Community Action Commission has a 38-year history of providing services within a Northwest Ohio delivery area, including the quad-counties of Wood County, Ottawa County, Seneca County and Sandusky County. WSOS housing counseling staff consists of a Family Development Specialist and four (4) Family Advocates/ Housing Counselors, with a combined average of nine (9) years housing counseling experience per counselor. Housing counseling services provided by the counseling agency include pre-occupancy, post-occupancy, predatory lending, renter counseling, potential renter and homeless counseling. WSOS offers an eight-hour homebuyer Education Workshop; all workshop participants receive individual counseling as a supplement to the group session housing counseling.

 
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