Six housing counseling locations in Georgia will share just over $1.2 million in funding after the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a dispersion of $47 million in grants.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $47 million in housing counseling grants on Wednesday to help approximately 1 million households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes.
These grants will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 31 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 19 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 207 local housing counseling agencies. In addition, HUD is awarding $3.5 million to four national organizations to train and certify additional housing counselors.
Two Atlanta locations and one location in Athens, Rome, Stone Mountain, and Griffin are among the locations to receive the funding bump.
- Athens Area Committee to Improve Opportunities Now, Inc. — $20,128
- Atlanta Georgia Housing and Finance Authority — $627,524
- Atlanta Operation Hope, Inc. — $510,990
- Griffin Affordable Housing Enterprises, Inc. — $21,506
- Rome Appalachian Housing and Redevelopment Corporation — $24,015
- Stone Mountain Refugee Family Assistance Program — $32,412
The Georgia total is $1,236,575.
“HUD-approved housing counselors are on the front lines, guiding people through their first home purchase and the ups and downs of homeownership,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Their efforts give families a real opportunity to realize their dream of owning a home is obtainable by offering advice on affordable rental housing, home financing, and tools to prevent foreclosure.”
National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that assist low- and moderate-income families to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among counseling providers. Read a comprehensive summary of each housing counseling grant.
Counseling improves housing outcomes for homebuyers, homeowners, and renters. Last year, HUD published research findings summarizing the impact of housing counseling has on families’ housing options and choices. In addition, recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Urban Institute continue to find housing counselors provide substantial benefits for first time homebuyers and families struggling to prevent foreclosure.
Grant recipients address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs. This includes helping homebuyers evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and down payment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult homebuying process. The organizations also help households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options.
In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. Finally, grantees also assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages. These agencies 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.
Housing counseling agencies also support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation, to avoid potential mortgage scams, 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. Likewise, foreclosure prevention counseling helps homeowners facing delinquency or default employ strategies, including expense reduction, negotiation with lenders and loan servicers, and loss mitigation, to avoid foreclosure.