HUD Archives: News Releases

Lee Jones
(804) 771-2100 ext. 3743
For Release
October 4, 2005

Agencies in Abingdon, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Gretna, Lynchburg, Manassas, Newport News, Richmond & Roanoke win total of $1.4 million in HUD housing counseling funds

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of thousands of families will have a greater opportunity to find housing or keep the homes they have because of nearly $42 million in housing counseling grants announced today by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson.

In today's announcement, People Incorporated of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon was awarded $37,593; Piedmont Housing Alliance in Charlottesville was awarded $32,190; Telamon Corporation Housing Services in Gretna was awarded $21,876; the Lynchburg Community Action Group was awarded $23,000; Prince William County's Office of Cooperative Extension in Manassas was awarded $28,752; the Newport News Office of Human Affairs was awarded $22,324; Total Action Against Poverty in Roanoke was awarded $35,000; and the Virginia Housing Development Authority in Richmond was awarded $113,402 for statewide counseling. In addition, Catholic Charities of Alexandria,
a national housing counseling intermediary organization, was awarded $1,1390,770.

These grants will assist families in becoming first-time homeowners or remain homeowners after their purchase. Renters and homeless individuals and families will also benefit from the counseling offered by the grants. Grants
were awarded to 18 national and regional organizations and approximately 362 state and local housing counseling agencies.

"These organizations will provide counseling services that will help meet the President's goal of increasing minority homeownership by 5.5 million families by the end of the decade," said Jackson. "Under the Bush Administration,
more families are receiving counseling services than ever before and more families are purchasing and keeping their homes. This program also helps educate and protect them from predatory lenders."

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.

Of the nearly $42 million in housing counseling grants, $2.5 million is specifically to combat predatory lending,
including awards to six national intermediaries and 46 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.

Another $1.4 million of the grant total is 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 five national intermediaries and 36 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.

A $3 million supplemental grant for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling is being awarded to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Foundation in partnership with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and Money Management International (MMI). This grant will provide counseling for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, and other living expenses.

Nearly $400,000 is specifically for counseling to residents of Colonias, unincorporated communities on the United States-Mexico border that characteristically lack: decent, safe, sanitary and accessible housing; adequate sewage systems; and a potable water supply. Awards under this category are made to three national intermediaries and
four state and local agencies. Limited banking experience and financial literacy makes Colonias residents particularly vulnerable to predatory lending. Grant recipients will provide Colonias residents with the sound advice they need to successfully navigate, and when appropriate avoid, the complex, and often unscrupulous, title and ownership arrangements, such as contract for deed, often marketed to these populations.

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; and 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 and



Catholic Charities, Alexandria, VA, $1,130,770 - Comprehensive Counseling

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is a national housing counseling intermediary serving a 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, a HUD-approved national intermediary since 1995, manages
a network of 40 affiliates that provide 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.

Lynchburg Community Action Group, Lynchburg, VA, $23,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Lynchburg Community Action Group has provided housing services to low-income residents of Central Virginia since 1973, successfully administering programs and projects funded by federal, state and local agencies for the past 37 years. Lynchburg Community Action Group has been a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency since 1996,
providing coordinated and effective housing counseling services to the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford
City and County, Campbell and Lynchburg City. Lyn- CAP's Housing Counseling program provides individual homeowners, potential mortgagors, renters, potential renters, and homeless persons counseling related to
homebuyer education, home equity conversion mortgages, loss mitigation, mortgage delinquency and default resolution and renter assistance. Additionally, the Lyn-CAP umbrella includes the following programs: Central Virginia Regional Home Buyers Club, Cooling Assistance Program, Emergency Housing Repair Program, Hands-Up Lodge (Emergency Shelter Program), Home Ownership Program, Housing Counseling Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), Housing Rehabilitation Program, Individual Development Account (LYNC-IDA) Program, Indoor Plumbing Program, Lead Abatement Program, Paint Program, SHARE Homeless Intervention Program (HIP), Waste, Water and Sewer Program, Weatherizing Program, Head Start Program, Emergency Assistance and
Crisis Intervention Program and Project Discovery Program.

Newport News Office of Human Affairs, Newport News, VA, $22,324 - 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.

People Incorporated of S.W. Virginia, Abingdon, VA, $37,593 - Comprehensive Counseling

People Incorporated of Southwest Virginia has been in existence for 33 years and has been approved as a HUD counseling agency since 1992. The agency operates 33 programs including housing counseling to an under-served area consisting of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Washington counties and the City of Bristol. People
Incorporated strives to provide programs, which will promote self-sufficiency, affirmatively further fair housing and provide economic opportunities for low and very low-income families. Housing counseling services include: pre-purchase, mortgage default, predatory lending, budget, credit, post-purchase, loss mitigation and HECM counseling.

Piedmont Housing Alliance, Charlottesville, VA, $32,190 - Comprehensive Counseling

The Piedmont Housing Alliance is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1983. Formerly known as the
Thomas Jefferson Housing Improvement Corporation (TJHIC), the agency was re-organized in February 1997 into a Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDO) and renamed the Piedmont Housing Alliance. In December
1999, PHA was approved as a HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency. The Alliance services the Thomas Jefferson Planning District, which includes the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Green, Fluvanna, Louisa
and Nelson. PHA is involved in Project Development, Finance Packaging, Loan Fund Development and Regional Initiatives. Homebuyer counseling services remains PHA's strongest emphasis, making homeownership a reality for individuals and families. PHA performs the following housing counseling activities: Homebuyer's Clubs, The Five Steps of Homeownership, Steppingstone, Public Education, Community Outreach and Rental Counseling. PHA is a regional organization dedicated to improving the lives of low and moderate-income clients and does not charge clients fees
for housing counseling services.

Telamon Corporation Housing Services, Gretna, VA, $21,876 - Comprehensive Counseling

Telamon Corporation is a private, non-profit agency, organized in 1965. Telamon operates a wide variety of self-sufficiency programs for low-income and migrant seasonal populations in ten states. In Virginia, the administrative office is housed in Richmond, with employment, training, and supportive services field offices located in Crewe, Danville, South Boston, South Hill, Winchester, Exmore, Farmville, and Waynesboro. Housing field offices are located
in South Hill and Gretna. Telamon's Gretna office opened in 1994, and focuses on the provision of comprehensive housing counseling and homeownership opportunities for rural, low-income individuals and families residing in a
seven-county, two-city area of south side Virginia. These localities, which make up Planning Districts 12 and 13, cover the counties of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Henry, Patrick, and Franklin, and the cities of Danville and Martinsville. Telamon has been a HUD Certified counseling agency since 1994, and provides counseling services in Pre and Post-Purchase; Delinquency and Default; Tenancy; Fair Housing; Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and Loss Mitigation counseling. Telamon's experience in community outreach, providing comprehensive counseling services, and promoting homeownership opportunities, is unmatched by any other
housing provider in its service area.

Total Action Against Poverty, Roanoke, VA, $35,000 - Comprehensive Counseling

Total Action Against Poverty (TAP) was chartered as a Community Action Agency in 1965. TAP's mission is a reaffirmation of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964: "To eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty´┐Ż
by opening to everyone the opportunity for education and training, the opportunity to work, and the opportunity to live in decency and dignity." For more than 30 years, TAP has operated numerous federal, state, and locally funded programs to provide services to clients within the region of Roanoke Valley-Allegheny Regional Planning District, Botetourt, Craig, Rockingham and Rockbridge County, which includes the cities of Buena Vista, Clifton Forge, Covington, Lexington, Roanoke, and Salem. TAP offers the following housing counseling services: pre-purchase,
post-purchase, pre-rental, rental delinquency, mortgage default, Fair Housing and HECM. In addition, to the above services, TAP's Housing Counseling component offers a Homelessness Intervention Program, called SHARE-HIP. This program offers direct client assistance for security deposits, rent payments, mortgage payments, counseling
services in mortgage delinquency, default resolution, loss mitigation and rental delinquency. The TAP Housing Counseling Program strives towards three (3) main goals: to prepare people for homeownership, prevent
homelessness and promote fair housing. Together with Blue Ridge Housing Development Corporation, TAP's housing counseling component administers two below market-rate, low interest loan programs: the Single Family Regional
Loan Fund (SFRLF) and the Sponsoring Partnerships and Revitalizing Communities (SPARC).

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Manassas, VA, $28,752 - Comprehensive Counseling

Virginia 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, prerental, 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.


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