WASHINGTON, DC – October 26, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Representative John Boccieri (D-Alliance) today announced the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) awarded more than $33,000 to the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA). The funds are part of HUD’s Housing Counseling Program and support the delivery of a wide variety of housing counseling services to homebuyers, homeowners, low to moderate income renters, and the homeless.
“Knowledge is power,” said Boccieri. “These counseling services provide families with better housing information and expert advice that allows them to achieve the American dream of homeownership.”Counseling services made possible through these funds include delinquency, pre-purchase, post-purchase, and tenant counseling. According to the SMHA, additional counseling services include first-time home buyers’ assistance in pre-purchase activities, such as, information on the importance of home inspections, choosing a lender-realtor, how to narrow the home search, building credit, money management, budgeting techniques, etc. Other services offered through housing counseling activities include post-purchase, tenant-landlord laws, and homebuyer workshops.
Denise Wareham of the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority said, “The counseling grant allows for Stark MHA to provide services such as foreclosure-delinquency intervention services to the community, as well as assisting families in a deed-in-lieu or a short-sale transaction. With the help of these counseling services and the national Making Homes Affordable Program, families experiencing a loss of income will succeed in a difficult housing market.”
The primary objectives of the program improve financial literacy, expand homeownership opportunities, improve access to affordable housing and preserve homeownership. Counselors will provide information to help families and individuals to improve their housing conditions, meet the responsibilities of tenancy and homeownership, and modify or refinance their loans to avoid unaffordable repayment terms. Counselors will also work to help borrowers avoid inflated appraisals, unreasonably high interest rates, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in loss of equity, increased debt, default, and eventual foreclosure.
In total, fifteen districts in Ohio received funding through HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.