HUD Archives: News Releases

Lee Jones
(804) 771-2100 ext. 3743
For Release
October 26, 2004

Cooperative Extension Service in Prince William County, Office of Human Affairs in Newport News and Virginia Housing Development Authority and Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Richmond win HUD Housing Counseling Grants

WASHINGTON - Nearly 910,000 individuals and families will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of more than $36 million in housing counseling grants announced today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson. An additional $7.7 million is being awarded to standardize and improve the quality of housing counseling services.

A total of $176,481 was awarded to four organizations that serve Virginia homebuyers and renters - the
Cooperative Extension Service in Prince William County, the Office of Human Affairs in Newport News, and the
Virginia Housing Development Authority and Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc., both based in Richmond.
Catholic Charities USA, a national counseling agency based in Alexandria, also received a $1.9 million grant to fund counseling by 44 affiliated organizations in 22 states. (Summaries of funded activites follow)

The grants were awarded to 18 national and regional organizations and approximately 340 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.

"HUD's Housing Counseling program plays a key role in support of the President's goal," said Jackson. "Under this Administration, more families are receiving counseling services than ever before and more families are purchasing
and keeping their homes. In addition, this program is also helping more families find the help they need to secure decent and affordable rental housing."

The 18 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. Three of the 18 intermediaries receiving grants this
year are faith-based organizations.

Of the $36,014 million in housing counseling grants, $2.5 million is being awarded specifically to combat predatory lending, including awards to five national and regional intermediaries and 42 state and local organizations. Grantees will assist unwary borrowers to 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.

Additionally, $1.7 million is being awarded specifically for counseling in conjunction with HUD's Section 8 Homeownership Voucher Program, which allows low-income individuals to use rental vouchers to purchase homes. Awards under this category are made to 5 national intermediaries and 34 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 difficult process.

This year, as part of its ongoing effort to improve housing counseling services, HUD will also award a $7.75 million grant to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NRC) to standardize counseling services nationwide and
provide training to housing counselors working at HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. NRC will conduct national, regional, and local training sessions for approximately 5,000 counselors on a broad array of housing topics. HUD's purpose in awarding this grant is to expand the knowledge and skills of housing counselors and improve the quality of counseling services offered by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. NRC is nationally recognized
as a leader in the field of housing counseling training and will bring an additional $8 million in leveraged funds to support this counselor training effort. This grant will help to further the Administration's housing goals, including
the critical goal of increasing minority homeownership.

The organizations that provide housing counseling services help people become or remain homeowners or find rental housing. HUD-funded housing counseling agencies also 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.

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


Virginia HUD Housing Counseling Grantees



Virginia Cooperative Extension - Prince William County




Newport News

Newport News Office of Human Affairs





Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Incorporate





Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Incorporate


Predatory Lending



Virginia Housing Development Authority






Funded Activities

Catholic Charities USA
Alexandria, VA
$1,968,601 - Comprehensive Counseling

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is a national network of agencies, institutions and individuals who aim to reduce poverty, support families and empower communities. It is the largest social service organization in the United
States. CCUSA is a HUD-approved national intermediary since 1995, manages a network of 44 affiliates that
provides housing counseling services in 22 states. CCUSA's affiliates provide comprehensive counseling including
pre- and post-purchase, predatory lending, HECM, default and foreclosure, and rental counseling. A religiously affiliated organization, CCUSA provides quality counseling to all people in need without regard to religious, racial, ethnic or cultural background.

Virginia Housing Development Authority
Richmond, VA
$64,536 - Comprehensive Counseling

Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA), one of the nation's largest state housing finance agencies, has
been offering homeownership education classes since 1993. The classes were developed as an educational
outreach program to assist low and moderate-income, first-time buyers by explaining the steps of homeownership
and encouraging them through the process. The classes have been developed to cover the complete pre-purchase curriculum as outlined by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AHECI. The course covers budgeting, credit and credit
repair, working with a Realtor, choosing the right home, loan products, working with the mortgage lender, the home inspection, and the loan closing. The curriculum is updated as changes in the industry warrant. To complement the housing counseling program VHDA has developed numerous partnerships with lenders, nonprofit housing agencies, government entities, and faith- based organizations to assist in promoting homeownership opportunities. VHDA also offers a Train the Trainer Program statewide to nonprofits and local Public Housing Authorities. Additionally, VHDA
has committed to expanding the number of Homeownership Education classes and will continue to support non-
profit agencies and organizations that provide Homeownership Education classes.

Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Inc. (HOME)
Richmond, VA
$44,988 - Comprehensive Counseling
$40,000 - Predatory Lending Counseling

HOME has been certified as a comprehensive housing counseling agency for many years, delivering housing
counseling services since 1971. HOME serves most of the Commonwealth of Virginia to Fredericksburg South.
Services include: pre and post purchase counseling, community homebuyer programs, mortgage-default counseling, rental counseling, landlord/tenant counseling, home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) counseling, fair housing assistance and information, home repair counseling, credit repair counseling, rental counseling group sessions, resolving landlord/tenant issues, outreach counseling to homeless individuals and families in shelters, and money management workshops. In addition, HOME augments its counseling services in various localities by providing direct financial assistance to eligible clients; down payment and closing cost for first time homebuyers; funds to bring mortgages or rent balances current; funds to help stabilize the housing situations of families making the transition from welfare to work; and funds to reinstate utilities and/or provide security deposits. HOME also provides short-
term (up to five months) and long-term housing assistance for people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. All persons who participate in the financial assistance programs also receive in-depth, long term case management
and housing counseling services to help them become self-sufficient and able to maintain their housing situations.

Newport News Office of Human Affairs
Newport, VA
$11,957 - Comprehensive Counseling

The Office of Human Affairs has provided housing assistance to the residents of Newport News and Hampton,
Virginia since 1972. Comprehensive housing services include: outreach to first time homebuyers, employment
related counseling, homeownership and rental programs as well as monthly VHDA Homebuyer Education Program Certification seminars. In addition, Newport News Office of Human Affairs is the administering agency to receive, examine and inquire into alleged violation of the City's Fair Housing Ordinance.

Virginia Cooperative Extension - Prince William County
Manassas, VA
$15,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Cooperative Extension's purpose is to educate clients to make informed and reasonable decisions to achieve their housing needs. Prince William County, VA received approval as a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency in July 1991. The Cooperative Extension's housing program provides one-on-one counseling for pre-purchase, pre-rental, mortgage default, rent delinquency and homelessness. Also, available to clients are the following services: Avoiding Financial Trouble Workshop; Financial Assessment; Long Term Financial Counseling; Homeownership Seminars; Post Purchase Seminars; Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) seminars and Ad Hoc Workshops. The marketing focus for the Home Counseling program is from Washington D.C. to Fredericksburg. While serving all groups, Cooperative Extension's main focus is minority ethnic groups. Participants in the program are diverse in both race
and income level, but minorities and lower income level clients form much of the clientele.


Content Archived: August 04, 2011