HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 07-88
Patricia Campbell
(817) 978-5974
For Release
October 15, 2007

Austin, Bellaire, Brownsville, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Weslaco are Grantees

FORT WORTH - Housing counseling agencies in Austin, Bellaire, Brownsville, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Weslaco together received a total of $368,231 in HUD Housing Counseling Grants. Nationwide, approximately 700,000 families will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of more than $44 million in housing counseling and counseling training grants announced today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson. A list of the Texas grantees and program summaries follows.

"This Administration strongly believes in the value of housing counseling services," said Jackson. "These
organizations help families make informed choices before they take the important step of homeownership. They also provide a service that is vital in today's mortgage market - they counsel families facing foreclosure and advise them about their options."

The organizations that provide housing counseling services help people become homeowners, remain homeowners,
find rental housing and assist homeless persons in finding transitional housing. Grant recipients also 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.

Housing counseling agencies 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.

And with foreclosures on the rise nationwide, housing counselors can assist homeowners in mortgage default with strategies to avoid losing their homes.

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.

Austin Tenants' Council
Austin, TX
$45,307.86 - Comprehensive Counseling
The Austin Tenants' Council was founded in 1973 through the hard work and diligence of community activists and VISTA Volunteers. Through its tenant-landlord and fair housing programs, ATC provides important housing services
to inform and protect the rights of low-income and minority residents in the Austin MSA in support of its mission to ensure that all people have the right to a safe, decent and affordable home.

Under the grant, the Austin Tenants' Council will continue the expansion of its services to assist persons that live in underserved areas in the Austin area and elsewhere in Texas. The program will provide counseling, education and mediation to help protect tenant rights and to provide information on opportunities for homeownership.

United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Houston, Inc.
Bellaire, TX
$20,000.00 - Comprehensive Counseling
UCP Houston currently provides housing services to first-time homebuyers with disabilities in the Houston area
through its Home of Your Own (HOYO) Program. Through HOYO, UCP Houston provides first-time homebuyer
education and counseling, credit and debt reduction counseling, post-purchase counseling and support, emergency financial assistance, down payment and closing cost assistance, and funding for accessibility-related modifications. Since the program's inception in 2000, UCP Houston has provided homebuyer orientation for more than 1,000 consumers and intensive housing counseling for more than 500 people with disabilities.

Community Development Corporation of Brownsville
Brownsville, TX
$30,846.23 - Comprehensive Counseling

The Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) is a private, non-profit community housing development organization. Established in 1974, CDCB has been providing safe, sanitary, and affordable housing to
low and moderate income residents of Brownsville and Southern Cameron County, Texas, for 32 years. CDCB has
been a HUD-approved Housing Counseling agency since 1991, and has assisted over 3,000 clients with counseling services in the past three years, including 610 families who have subsequently obtained homeownership.

CDCB manages and implements a comprehensive housing counseling program to benefit low- and moderate-income families in the southern Cameron County area, as well as individuals of all income levels in Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, and Starr counties of South Texas.

El Paso Community Action Program, Project Bravo, Inc.
El Paso, TX
$20,000.00 - Comprehensive Counseling

Project Bravo, Inc. is non-profit organization that exists to maximize resources for an improved quality of life for the economically disadvantaged residents of El Paso County. The organization was established 1965 and is El Paso County's official Community Action organization. The agency's mission is accomplished through outreach, case management, counseling, direct financial assistance, information and referral, training, employment, grassroots organizing and affordable housing services.

Project Bravo has been in the forefront of developing multifaceted programs to help disadvantaged families (those
at 80% or below the federal poverty guidelines) as well as elderly and disabled persons. Since its inception, Project Bravo has developed and administered programs that have helped some 30,000 low income individuals (approximately 4,000 families) annually.

City of Fort Worth Housing Department
Fort Worth, TX
$59,769.49 - Comprehensive Counseling

One of the City of Fort Worth's housing goals is to help residents realize the American dream of homeownership. To achieve this goal, the City's Housing Department, through its Housing Services and Information Division (HS&I), has provided comprehensive housing counseling services and homeownership training since 1994. HS&I has been a HUD-approved housing counseling agency since 1997. This program compliments the City's Homebuyers' Assistance
Program which provides closing cost and down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. In 2005, HS&I provided 1,866 one-on-one counseling services and homeownership training to 507 homebuyers. The City provides counseling services including Post-Purchase, Predatory Lending, Homeownership Voucher and Homelessness Counseling.

Avenue Community Development Corporation
Houston, TX
$43,000.00 - Comprehensive Counseling

In 1991, a group of neighbors created an organization to develop affordable housing, preserve historic buildings, and revitalize the Old Sixth Ward, a National Register Historic District in the shadow of Houston's downtown. At the request of civic organizations from surrounding neighborhoods, by 1999 Old Sixth Ward CDC had expanded its target area to include the entire Near Northside and Washington Avenue communities. The organization changed its name
to Avenue CDC to reflect this expanded focus.

Avenue CDC's four program areas are: homeownership and financial empowerment, which serves over 450 families each year; rental housing and resident services; environmental and historic preservation initiatives; and cultural and economic development. Avenue CDC is a grassroots, community-led organization that enables low-income people to improve their lives by improving their economic circumstances and the quality of their housing.

City of San Antonio Community Initiatives Department
San Antonio, TX
$70,615.72 - Comprehensive Counseling

The Fair Housing Program provides comprehensive housing counseling services to residents of San Antonio and Bexar County and has been a HUD- approved Housing Counseling Agency since 1979. Services include mediation of tenant/landlord disputes, pre- and post-purchase education counseling, foreclosure prevention counseling,
emergency financial mortgage assistance, reverse mortgage counseling, predatory lending counseling, emergency shelter referrals and financial literacy training.

In addition, they are pursuing outreach opportunities to promote awareness of the Fair Housing Act and with investigating housing discrimination complaints. The Fair Housing Program builds partnerships with local housing agencies, housing providers and social service agencies (to include grass-roots and faith-based organizations), to identify local housing and homeownership needs and provide assistance to those in need. Services are provided free of charge to all Bexar County residents.

Money Management International, Inc. (MMI)
Houston, TX
$1,118,533 - Comprehensive Counseling
$1,135,000 - HECM Counseling
Money Management International, Inc. (MMI) is a nonprofit, community service organization that provides comprehensive housing counseling, professional financial guidance, counseling, community-wide educational
programs, and debt management assistance. A HUD-approved national housing counseling intermediary, MMI and its family of agencies has over 47 years experience helping consumers regain financial control of their lives. Through its network of over 120 local branch offices serving 23 states, MMI provides services including mortgage delinquency/default counseling, pre-purchase counseling, homebuyer education, HECM counseling, rental counseling, and credit and debt management counseling.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid
Weslaco, TX
$74,231.13 - Comprehensive Counseling

Incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1971, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) provides free legal aid and
related educational services to low-income clients in the 68-county region of Southwest Texas. TRLA has organized its services around a broad variety of 39 practice areas that address the equally broad range of problems facing the low-income community: economic self-sufficiency, domestic violence, fair housing, children's right, elder law,
disability rights, public benefits, consumer protection, and others. Every year, TRLA provides services to
approximately 20,000 clients who would otherwise be unable to afford legal aid to resolve problems that are life altering or threatening.

TRLA provides guidance and advice to help families improve access to affordable housing and preserve
homeownership in 68 counties of central, west and south Texas including the entire Texas-Mexico border region.
TRLA housing counselors will help these families avoid inflated appraisals, unreasonably high interest rates, unaffordable repayment terms, predatory lending, "contract-for-deed" rent-to-own contracts, discriminatory housing practices, default and foreclosure, and other housing counseling issues.


Content Archived: March 15, 2011