After several years without a new organization taking on the challenge of becoming a HUD approved housing counseling agency, Solo Por Hoy, Inc. stepped up to the plate and has become Puerto Rico's newest housing counseling agency to obtain HUD's approval to help renters and homeowners make the best use of HUD programs and services.
The team at Solo Por Hoy realized there was a larger population they were not able to help; families they wanted to assist who didn't need the homeless services they provide through their main programs. For Solo Por Hoy, housing counseling provides additional mechanism for working on prevention and reducing barriers for those living below the median income. They also have experience and a passion for defending the fair housing rights of their clients, an integral component of housing counseling when customers face discrimination when buying or renting a property.
Solo Por Hoy is not a "new kid on the block" when it comes to HUD programs and community service; this organization was founded in 2009 as a community service organization serving the greater metropolitan area that specializes in homelessness prevention and supportive services as a HUD Continuum of Care grantee, and provides services for mental health conditions, drug abuse, disability advocacy, and housing counseling. They are also a subgrantee of HUD's Emergency Solutions Grant program, administer the Rapid-Rehousing Program and the Homeless Coordinated Entry System, and have "Camino a Casa" or "My Path Home" buses to bring support services, food, and hygiene supplies to areas with high homeless populations.
During the peak of the Hurricane Maria crisis in late 2017 to early 2018, this organization was crucial in sheltering and rehousing hurricane survivors in coordination with the PR Department of Housing, FEMA, and HUD, as well as other state and non-profit entities. They continue to aid in the recovery process via philanthropic partnerships teaching families how to use a water purifying product that can clean two gallons of water in 30 minutes.
HUD-approved housing counseling agencies provide orientation and tools to current and prospective homeowners and renters so that they can make responsible choices to address their housing needs in light of their financial situations. For example, housing counselors can provide an individualized work plan to manage a family's budget or help a homebuyer obtain their dream home, they can communicate with a person's lender to help them navigate the foreclosure process, and they can help a person understand and improve their credit. For more information on HUD's housing counseling program visit www.hudexchange.info/programs/housing-counseling/ (www.hudexchange.info/programs/housing-counseling/).
Belinda Hill, Executive Director of Solo Por Hoy holds a certificate awarded by the HUD Puerto Rico team.