NeighborWorks Sends $67M to Agencies for Foreclosure Counseling
By: Heather Hill Cernoch
NeighborWorks America announced this week that $67.7 million has been awarded to 37 state housing finance agencies, 17 HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and 84 community-based organizations to provide counseling to homeowners facing foreclosure.
The grant money was awarded through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC), which was launched in 2007 with funds appropriated by Congress to increase housing counseling for families at risk of foreclosure.
NeighborWorks America, a Washington, D.C.-based organization devoted to affordable housing and community development, distributes the funds to competitively selected grantee organizations.
Demand for this latest round of grant money exceeded the amount of funding available with more than $212.7 million requested from eligible applicants.
As a result of these awards, more than 1,400 nonprofit counseling agencies and local NeighborWorks organizations across the country are expected to provide free assistance to families at risk of losing their homes.
Counselors will also determine client eligibility for the federal government’s Making Home Affordable programs, help clients understand the foreclosure process, and identify other possible courses of action.
NeighborWorks estimates that nearly 184,000 families facing foreclosure will receive assistance with this fifth round of funding. The organization also expects to train more than 2,000 counselors with funding dollars.
After evaluating of the NFMC program, the Urban Institute found that a homeowner who works with an NFMC counselor is 1.7 times more likely to cure a foreclosure than a homeowner who does not receive counseling.
Homeowners who obtained a mortgage modification through NFMC counseling saved an average of $6,000 annually through lower payments.
To date, more than 1,186,000 families in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam have received foreclosure counseling through the NFMC program.
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