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NAACP Supports Full Reinstatement of Housing Counseling Funding

WHEREAS, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Counseling Assistance Program was developed in 1968 to address a broad range of housing counseling needs of working families and seniors of modest means; and

WHEREAS, the HUD Counseling Assistance Program is the only federal program that provides direct support for households considering purchasing their first home, non-foreclosure post purchase counseling, renter and homeless prevention counseling and mortgage counseling for seniors; and

WHEREAS, since fiscal year 2009, HUD-approved housing counseling agencies nationwide have provided more than four million families with individual housing counseling; counseled more than 420,000 pre-purchase households, resulting in 185,000 who purchased homes or are homeownership-ready; worked to prevent mortgage delinquency for 2.6 million households, with nearly 834,000 avoiding foreclosure; supported 413,000 people with post-purchase (non-foreclosure) services, 168,000 of whom refinanced or obtained reverse mortgages; and helped more than 590,000 renters and homeless individuals resolve tenant issues or find shelter; and

WHEREAS, housing counseling organizations have been working on the frontlines of the current housing crisis to provide assistance to distressed homeowners and guidance to individuals seeking to purchase or rent a home and housing counselors act as independent advisors, helping families deal with their entire financial picture and find sustainable solutions to their housing circumstances; and

WHEREAS, in Fiscal Year 2010, the program was funded at $87.5 million, but in Fiscal Year 2011, the program was funded at zero dollars. As a result, a housing counseling funding cuts survey found that, of those agencies surveyed, 85% of housing agencies experienced cuts in 2011; 52% of agencies reduced the number of clients they saw;  40% laid off staff and 38% reduced counselor hours; 46 agencies closed their doors or stopped providing housing counseling; over 350 counselors lost their jobs, due to funding cuts; and HUD has reported that one million fewer people were counseled in the year starting October 2010, than in the year before; and

WHEREAS, in Fiscal Year 2012 the HUD Housing Counseling Assistance Program was funded with $45 million, only half of the funding granted two years ago; and

WHEREAS, housing counseling services assist Americans in improving their housing conditions, meeting financial needs and fulfilling the responsibilities of tenancy or homeownership and, most importantly, are helping to resolve the present housing crisis and to prevent anything like this from ever occurring again; and

WHEREAS, the use of housing counselors improves the likelihood of homebuyers entering into sustainable mortgage lending products; and

WHEREAS, from 2007 to the end of 2009 an estimated 2.5 million foreclosures occurred throughout the country with African Americans twice as likely to lose their homes in foreclosures as compared to white Americans; and

WHEREAS, the Center for Responsible Lending has estimated that between 2009 and 2012 nearly $200 billion will be lost by African American and Latino communities due to depreciation of their homes and millions more homes are expected to be foreclosed upon over the next few years; and

WHEREAS, African Americans and Latinos were disproportionately targeted with unsustainable subprime loans and the majority of African American and Latino households are not yet homeowners; and

WHEREAS, NAACP units across the country rely on the services of housing counselors to assist members in our communities on not only housing purchases, but also what to do when they are faced with foreclosure.   For example, since the latter part of 2008, the Stockton Branch of the NAACP has referred over 300 families to HUD Counselors to assist them with foreclosure and loan modification issues; and

WHEREAS, foreclosure counseling reduces the likelihood of re-default by 67% and more than doubles the chance of a homeowner receiving a loan modification.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP advocate for and strongly support consistent and robust federal funding for housing counseling services; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NAACP units across our nation are encouraged to affiliate and work with local authorized and authoritative housing counselors to benefit their members.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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