HUD No. 07-100
July 09, 2007
RELIABLE GOVERNMENT-APPROVED HOUSING COUNSELING SERVICES AVAILABLE
HUD Summit reveals half of homeowners facing foreclosure are afraid to contact lender or bank, but not counseling agencies, for help
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is encouraging all residents interested in owning a home, refinancing their mortgage or taking steps to avoid foreclosure to contact a local housing counseling agency for fair and reliable advice. With over 2,300 HUD-approved counseling centers throughout the country, these community-based facilities can educate homebuyers on how to purchase a home, avoid predatory lenders and assist current homeowners facing possible foreclosure.
"In this ever-changing market, it is critical that families have a safe place to turn to ask questions and get help," HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said. "We want to help people obtain the educational tools they need to steer clear of mortgage scams and find homes they can afford. Housing counseling agencies are a one-stop-shop to provide families with reliable advice that helps them maneuver through the homebuying process, avoid hazardous situations, and ensure the American Dream of homeownership remains a safe, long-term investment."
A recent HUD-sponsored homeownership summit found that half of all homeowners facing foreclosure are afraid to contact their lender or bank for assistance. However, most were willing to speak with a local non-profit counseling agency, but did not know how to contact them.
The key to avoiding scams or being steered into accepting a risky loan is the ability to diligently read and comprehend the fine print of a mortgage while also not being worried about asking for help when needed. Housing counseling agencies can help homeowners act prudently when making informed financial decisions, while also avoiding high-risk, high-cost loans that place them at greater risk of foreclosure.
Recognizing the importance of financial education, the Bush administration has increased the housing counseling budget from $13 million to $41 million since 2001 - over a 200 percent increase. President Bush has proposed another increase - to $50 million - in Fiscal Year 2008.
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, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.