HUD Announces Funding to help New Hampshire Families Find or Keep Homes

Six local agencies awarded $282,132 for homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention

October 25, 2007 – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Taylor Caswell joined Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta to announce nearly $60,000 in funding to NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester to help families and individuals find or keep homes.

The grant is awarded under HUD’s housing counseling program, which provides critical funding to help local agencies assist families in becoming first-time homeowners by realistically evaluating their readiness for a home purchase, understanding their financing and downpayment options, and navigating what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process. In addition, housing counseling agencies provide assistance to those homeowners who are facing mortgage delinquency and default; and renters and homeless individuals also benefit from housing counseling services funded through HUD grants.

The funding awarded to NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester is part of $282,132 awarded in New Hampshire, and $44 million awarded nationwide for housing counseling program this year.

 Housing Counseling Grants Awarded in New Hampshire 2007

  • NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester – $59,769
  • New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority – $50,000
  • CATCH Neighborhood Housing – $50,000
  • Granite State Independent Living – $45,308
  • Laconia Area Community Trust – $25,000
  • The Way Home – $52,055

“The value of housing counseling cannot be overstated,” said Caswell. “Housing education programs offered by NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester help families make informed choices before they take the important step of homeownership.”

NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester has been an excellent partner administering HUD housing counseling programs. Over the past year, NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester provided housing counseling services to 468 individuals, and 65 graduates of their education programs have become first-time homebuyers this year. In addition the organization has helped 36 families avoid foreclosure this year.

“We very much appreciate this support from HUD,” states Robert Tourigny, executive director of NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester. “Demand for our home ownership counseling is very high and we expect the need to continue as the number of foreclosures rises. These funds will help NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester provide the services to help families make smart choices in home purchases,” continues Tourigny.

This year with foreclosures on the rise, HUD is emphasizing the importance of housing counseling services more than ever. In addition to helping first-time homebuyers realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, housing counselors offer assistance to homeowners who are facing mortgage default or delinquency.

When announcing the funding to NeighborWorks® Greater Manchester, Mr. Caswell also discussed a new program that may help homeowners who are facing foreclosure. The program, FHA Secure, will be administered by the Federal Housing Administration, the branch of HUD that insures mortgages against default.

Under the FHA Secure plan, families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage payments before their adjustable loans reset to a higher rate, but who are now in default, will qualify for refinancing.

“FHASecure is designed for people who are good borrowers, but were steered into high cost loans with teaser rates,” said Caswell.

Eligible homeowners will be required to meet strict underwriting guidelines and pay a mortgage insurance premium, which offsets the risk to FHA’s insurance fund at no cost to the taxpayer. To qualify for FHA Secure, eligible homeowners must meet the following criteria:

  1. A history of on-time mortgage payments before the borrower’s teaser rates expired and loans reset;
  2. Interest rates must have or will reset between June 2005 and December 2009;
  3. Three percent cash or equity in the home;
  4. A sustained history of employment; and
  5. Sufficient income to make the mortgage payment.

Since its inception in 1934, FHA has helped almost 35 million people nationwide become homeowners, making it the largest insurer of mortgages in the world. For more information about FHA Secure and other homeownership programs, please contact NeighborWorks®Greater Manchester at (603) 626-4663, or any local HUD-certified housing counseling agency. For a list of HUD-approved counseling agencies in New Hampshire, visit www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?webListAction=search&searchstate=NH.

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