VHDA is making $700,000 available through our REACH Virginia Housing Counseling and Education Grant Program. This amount, which replaces funds previously provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be used to increase housing counseling availability and educational support for the homebuying process and sustainable homeownership, in the areas of pre-purchase, default, rental and post-purchase.
“VHDA wants to help these professionals who are on the front line of the housing crisis. We know they play a critical role in assisting homeowners behind on their mortgage payments understand their options and make better decisions,” said Kelly Gill-Gordon, VHDA Homeownership Education Program Manager. “By helping homeowners, they help our local real estate markets, which in turn helps Virginia's economy.”
Serious delinquencies and foreclosures are expected to increase through 2011 and remain high until Virginia's unemployment rate shows a meaningful decline. Based on this forecast, VHDA is also awarding $450,000 to continuing foreclosure prevention counseling across the state.
“VHDA recognizes that despite federal cuts in funding, financial counseling has never been more important,” said Gill-Gordon. “We appreciate the vital service Virginia's housing counselors provide, and want to do what we can to help them continue to provide it.”
We hope that federal funds will be re-allocated to fund financial counseling for FY12.
In addition, NeighborWorks® recently awarded VHDA a grant of $238,125 as part of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling program (NFMC). This grant makes it possible for us to continue providing financial assistance to more than 30 housing counseling agencies across the state.
The $475-million NFMC program was launched in December 2007 with funds appropriated by Congress to address the nationwide crisis by dramatically increasing the availability of housing counseling for families at risk of foreclosure. NeighborWorks distributes funds to competitively selected grantee organizations, such as VHDA, which in turn provide the counseling services, either directly or through other organizations. Upwards of 1,700 counseling agencies operate under the program.