HUD, White House announce $40M to expand housing counseling

The White House and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Thursday the awarding of $40 million to expand housing counseling services to a greater number of vulnerable communities. The services will be available for current homeowners, prospective homebuyers and renters alike.

The announcement was made by HUD acting secretary Adrianne Todman and Vice President Kamala Harris in Milwaukee during the vice president’s “nationwide economic opportunity tour,” announced last month by the White House.

Vice President Kamala Harris takes her official portrait Thursday, March 4, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Vice President
Kamala Harris

“Homeownership represents more than just a roof over our heads; it represents financial security, the opportunity to build wealth and equity, and a foundation for a better future for ourselves, our children, and future generations,” Harris said in prepared remarks. “That is why President Biden and I are continuing to address barriers to housing by announcing $40 million to expand housing counseling services in communities across the country.”

The new funding, she explained, will go to more than 165 housing counseling agencies and is designed to “build economic opportunity while helping homebuyers throughout America improve their credit, find down payment assistance programs, understand loan terms and types of mortgages, navigate the application process, and identify housing discrimination,” she said.

Todman added that HUD counseling services have reached “almost one million Americans” in the past year. They have helped homeowners maintain their homes, avoid foreclosure and bolster their financial literacy on housing topics.

“Today, we are providing $40 million more to expand these services — specifically for underserved communities — so we can build the next generation of homeowners and close the racial homeownership gap,” she said.

Of the more than 165 counseling agencies and intermediary organizations that will receive funding from these awards, 14 will “partner with 60 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions to support new homeowners of color and other marginalized communities,” HUD explained.

Funds can be used for counseling services that cover various topics, including financial management and literacy, homeownership and affordable rental housing.

“For example, one of the grantees — Unidos US — aims to creat[e] pathways for Latino homebuyers to build credit, afford a down payment, and get approved for a sustainable mortgage loan,” HUD explained.

HUD noted that Harris and Todman will further explain how this ties into larger housing initiatives put forward by the White House in recent months. This follows the president outlining his hopes for housing policy and legislation in March’s State of the Union address and other bipartisan efforts aiming to address housing topics as they become more visible election issues.

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