NEWS RELEASE - Fiscal Year 2020 Maryland Housing Counseling Fund Awards Announced
Fiscal Year 2020 Maryland Housing Counseling Fund Awards Announced More than $2 million awarded to 40 organizations in 16 jurisdictions
NEW CARROLLTON, MD (December 3, 2019) - The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced more than $2 million in Fiscal Year 2020 awards through the Maryland Housing Counseling Fund. These awards will support 40 nonprofit and local government organizations that provide housing counseling services including homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling and financial capability coaching; as well as, counseling and legal assistance to avoid foreclosure. Funds may also be used by these organizations to increase operational capacity to serve more clients.
"A family's home is their most important asset, and housing counseling helps ensure that potential and current homeowners are educated and empowered to make informed decisions about purchasing or preserving that home," said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Kenneth C. Holt. "We will continue to support the members of our statewide housing counseling network and other partners who work tirelessly to increase financial literacy and provide thoughtful and responsive foreclosure mitigation services."
The department awarded nearly $1.5 million to 33 organizations that are members of the State of Maryland's network of housing counseling agencies. The majority of these organizations are also approved and certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and they provide critical counseling services to assist new homebuyers and homeowners facing foreclosure. These services often include educating clients on the home buying process and working with them to improve their credit and reduce their debt. Counselors also assist clients facing foreclosure by advocating on their behalf with mortgage servicers to achieve a positive outcome.
Six legal service providers received $460,000 in support to assist homeowners in underserved rural areas of the state, as well as Baltimore City and Prince George's County which continue to experience high foreclosure activity. These funds include a $200,000 award to Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, one of the largest providers of pro bono civil legal services to low-income Marylanders. This award will enable the organization to continue its successful "My Home, My Deed, My Legacy" public awareness campaign to educate Maryland residents - especially low-income residents of Baltimore City - about the importance of estate planning and the critical need to confirm their name is on the deed to their property to ensure legal ownership and the ability to pass their home on to other family members.
The Community Development Network of Maryland received $64,000 to support the organization's ongoing activities to increase the capacity of the network of housing counseling agencies, strengthen partnership and collaboration between members, and raise awareness of the free services available to Maryland homeowners. The department also awarded $10,000 to support the BlueHub SUN program, a national nonprofit foreclosure prevention program, which has helped over 1,000 families avoid foreclosure since 2009 by purchasing foreclosed properties before residents are evicted and then reselling these homes to the homeowner with a mortgage they can afford.