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RISMEDIA, June 18, 2009-The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that more than $58 million is available for a broad range of housing counseling programs to help families find and preserve housing. The funding is an increase of $11 million, or 23%, over last year. These grants will be awarded competitively to hundreds of HUD-approved counseling agencies and State Housing Finance Agencies that offer a variety of services including how to purchase or rent a home, how to avoid foreclosure, how to improve credit scores, and how to qualify for a reverse mortgage.

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that American families make informed decisions about their housing choices,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “These counseling agencies are also vital to the success of the President’s Making Home Affordable Plan which is helping families avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes.”

HUD-approved counseling agencies provide homeownership counseling as well as financial literacy education to renters and homeless individuals and families. This year HUD’s Housing Counseling Grant program will provide approximately $47 million for comprehensive counseling; $8 million for Reverse Mortgage Counseling, $2 million for supplemental funding for Loan Document Review Counseling, and $1 million in supplemental funding for Fair Lending and Mortgage Fraud Analysis and Counseling.

National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based grassroots organizations that provide advice and guidance to low- and moderate-income families seeking to improve their housing conditions. In addition, these larger organizations help improve the quality of housing counseling services and enhance coordination among their counseling providers.

HUD will award grants to approximately 400 applicants. Applications may be downloaded from HUD’s website including instructions on submitting proposals via Federal Express (FedEx), United Parcel Services (UPS), and the U.S. Postal Service. Applications must be postmarked on or before July 17th and received by the designated reviewing office within five days.

For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

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