U.S. Senator Kit Bond today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an additional $177.5 million in federal funds from the program he created to provide counseling services to help families save their homes from foreclosure.
“In these troubling times, counseling is a much-needed service that will help families – and our economy,” said Bond. “Armed with federal funds, the community organizations on the ground in Missouri and across the country will be able make a real difference in preventing foreclosures and helping families keep their homes.”
As Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Bond was one of the first to sound the alarms about the current housing crisis and the importance of counseling a to prevent foreclosures. Last year, Senators Bond and Chris Dodd (D-CT) secured $180 million in the fiscal year 2008 omnibus spending bill to create the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program. The NFMC program, administered by NeighborWorks America, provides housing counseling through governmental and nonprofit organizations. The federal funds released today are a part of the Bond-Dodd program.
The $177.5 million in federal funds will go to more than 1,500 nonprofit counseling agencies through the NFMC. HUD released the funds to 35 state housing finance agencies (HFAs), 15- HUD approved counseling intermediaries, and 84 community-based NeighborWorks organizations. In addition to the $177.5 million awarded for counseling, $25.1 million in grants was awarded to 23 HFAs, 6 intermediaries and 25 NeighborWorks organizations to provide legal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure.
Bond emphasized that housing counseling helps many families keep their homes or avoid foreclosure through services including negotiations with lenders, formulating repayment plans, locating non-profit assistance, and suspension or reduction payments. In late October, NeighborWorks stated in an interim progress report to Congress that 105,071 homeowners nationwide have been provided assistance to address their mortgage delinquency and foreclosure challenges.
Bond stressed that this is not just a problem in other states—more than 57,000 homeowners in Missouri are delinquent on their mortgages, including 20 percent of subprime borrowers. Bond noted that the funds announced today will help these Missouri families. Missouri organizations that will receive federal counseling funds include $456,840 for Beyond Housing of St. Louis, $244,180 for North East Community Action Corporation, and $74,300 for Neighborhood Housing Services of Kansas City, Inc.