In April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $36 million in grants to support housing counseling work nationally. Over $2.1 million will go to 16 organizations across New York State, though only about 20% of that total (approximately $2 million) will go to organizations serving residents of New York City.
New York State has the second-highest foreclosure inventory in the country, with 4% of mortgaged homes in foreclosure. What’s more, certain communities in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn face foreclosure rates of more than 11%. With the federal budget tightening and funding more and more scarce, there is a great need for additional support to fund programs that assist middle- and working-class New Yorkers at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure and to educate and assist New Yorkers purchasing their first home.
Housing counseling is critical to preserving affordable housing in many neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Without the expert guidance of a housing counselor, middle- and working-class New Yorkers unable to afford for-pay help would be left at risk of losing their homes. Since the Center began serving New York homeowners in 2008, we have helped to deploy $52 million to homeowner services and support. The generous and visionary support of the New York City Council and Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio through the City of New York’s Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD), combined with many other incredible donors, has made this strong commitment to these home-saving services possible.
With the release of the latest HUD funding, Secretary Julian Castro stressed, “the evidence is clear: housing counseling works.” A research summary from the Center for Housing Policy reveals that borrowers who had missed a payment on their mortgage were 45 to 50 percent more likely to get back on track with their payments if they received counseling. A 2013 Freddie Mac study found that counseling reduces the mortgage delinquency rate of first-time home buyers by 29 percent. Likewise, a 2013 report from NeighborWorks revealed that clients receiving pre-purchase counseling and education from NeighborWorks organizations were one-third less likely to become 90+ days delinquent over the first two years of a loan term compared to borrowers who do not receive counseling.
Want to show your support for housing counseling in New York? Stand with your local housing counseling agency by reaching out to your City Council member and asking him or her to advocate for funding local housing counseling agencies through the City’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program. To date, over 18,000 New Yorkers have been helped through this citywide program. On average, a mortgage modification through the Center’s network saves households $600 per month– that’s over $7,000 per year.
Has a housing counselor made a difference in your life? We want to hear about it. Tell us your story.