The United States grapples with an affordable housing crisis, as homes prices across the country has pushed low- and moderate-income families and individuals out of the American dream. Melanated Americans are feeling the impact of the housing crises and being left behind at a higher rate than most Americans not being able to take part in the American dream and closing the gap in homeownership rates. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Housing Counseling is announcing today that it has awarded $41.3 million in grants to support the vital services performed by the nation’s housing counselors. The awards include $38.6 million in second-year housing counseling grants to 173 HUD-approved local housing counseling agencies, national and regional organizations, multi-state organizations, and state housing finance agencies who were awarded grants under the September 18, 2021, Office of Housing Counseling two-year Comprehensive Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The Office also awarded an additional $2.75 million in second-year funding for six HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that received awards under HUD’s November 2, 2021, Office of Housing Counseling Training NOFO. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Melanated homeownership rate has fallen behind; and the gap between homeownership of various ethnicities is now wider than it was more than 50 years ago, right before the 1968 Fair Housing Act was enacted to create equal housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income Americans, according to a report by the Urban Institute. “Today’s awards provide important funding for housing counseling agencies that are performing crucial services for individuals and families across the nation,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon. “Maintaining and funding a network of quality housing counseling resources through our Office of Housing Counseling is a key piece of achieving HUD’s goals to reduce barriers and promote equity in housing.”
Melanated homeownership has plummeted since the Great Recession. Systemic racism, equity stripping, and a significant loss of affordable housing are just a few reasons for this declination in Melanated homeowners throughout the US. The initiative is backed by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge (a former Ohio Representative), who joins Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and more than 100 organizations that make up The Black Homeownership Collaborative as part of the effort. This funding will continue to support vital housing counseling services performed by these agencies, including pre-purchase homebuyer counseling, foreclosure prevention counseling, rental eviction prevention counseling, and disaster recovery counseling, among others. “We are pleased to provide this second year of funding to support HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agencies in fulfilling their many roles, including helping families maintain housing stability as the nation recovers from the pandemic,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Counseling David Berenbaum. The $2.75 million in grants awarded today under the Office of Housing Counseling Training NOFO support education and training for housing counselors, including training on delivering housing counseling services to seniors seeking reverse mortgages under the Federal Housing Administration’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program and training to support successful completion of the HUD Housing Counselor Certification exam. $302,500 of these funds were specifically awarded to two recipient organizations that will issue training scholarships to students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions enrolled in a housing counseling workforce development program.
One main reason the country has not collectively addressed decades of a widening homeownership gap for Melanated Americans is that history has quickly been forgotten, says Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law.” Prior to anti-discrimination rules like the Fair Housing Act and the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, which is meant to encourage lending to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was known for actions that suppressed Melanated homeownership. This included using a system called “redlining” to determine high-risk areas where it would refuse to insure loans in locations that were predominantly non-white neighborhoods. The highest risk areas were marked in red on maps, and banks were instructed not to give federally backed loans in those neighborhoods. About HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies. These services include assisting homebuyers in evaluating their readiness for a home purchase and navigating through the homebuying process, find affordable rental housing, offer financial literacy training to individuals and families, and provide foreclosure prevention counseling. In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies support emergency preparedness and disaster recovery efforts, assist homeless persons in finding transitional housing, and help seniors determine whether a HECM or other reverse mortgage makes sense for them.These services include assisting homebuyers in evaluating the.ir readiness for a home purchase and navigating through the homebuying process, find affordable rental housing, offer financial literacy training to individuals and families, and provide foreclosure prevention counseling. In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies support emergency preparedness and disaster recovery efforts, assist homeless persons in finding transitional housing, and help seniors determine whether a HECM or other reverse mortgage makes sense for them.
To locate a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, visit HUD’s online locator or call (800) 569-4287 to use our interactive telephone locator service.