Monday, April 15, 2013

Additional Funding for Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program

By Jeanne Fekade-Sellassie
director, NeighborWorks America National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program

Today, NeighborWorks America announced that $70.1 million has been awarded to 30 state housing finance agencies (HFAs), 17 HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and 72 community-based NeighborWorks organizations to provide counseling to families and individuals facing the threat of foreclosure.  Just one month after the seventh round of National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) Program funds were appropriated, communities across our country will be able to put the funds to immediate use.

At a time when foreclosures continue to affect communities around the country and unemployment rates remain high, the need for the NFMC funding is critical.  Demand for these funds far exceeded the amount of funding available; eligible applicants requested over $105 million in NFMC grant funds.

In total, more than 1,200 nonprofit counseling agencies and local NeighborWorks organizations across the country are expected to be engaged in the NFMC Program as a result of these awards.  These organizations provide invaluable, free assistance to families at risk of losing their homes, determine client eligibility for the Making Home Affordable programs, help clients understand the complex foreclosure process, and identify possible courses of action so their clients can make informed decisions and take action.

To date, more than 1,560,000 families in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam have received foreclosure counseling through the NFMC Program.  It is estimated that 193,000 families facing the threat of foreclosure will be directly assisted with this seventh round of funding.

In addition to the grant funding, the NFMC appropriations provide funding to train foreclosure counselors and to administer the program.  With these funds, NeighborWorks has conducted over 156 local, regional, and national trainings and has provided over 12,100 training scholarships and over 23,000 course completion certificates to individuals attending these trainings.  Nearly 5,800 participants have completed one or more of the three foreclosure e-learning courses developed with NFMC funds: Foreclosure Basics, Understanding and Applying Loss-Mitigation Tools, and Using Effective Practices to Improve your Foreclosure Counseling Program.  NeighborWorks expects to train 2,000 counselors with the seventh round of NFMC funding.

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