HUD Stress Education and Prevention as Key Components
October 20th, 2008
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In light of the recent moves by FHA and their key H4H program, HUD is continuing to stress the importance of education and prevention as core solutions to our housing economy. Many of the problems that we are now facing are due to the lack of financial literacy and education of homeowners; a weakness unfortunately opening them up to predatory tactics and unfair lending. While recent programs implemented by HUD and FHA address our current problems, they also understand that preemptive actions are the best method to avoid these problems again in the future.
HUD Awards $21.8 Million to Fight Housing Discrimination
Specifically, HUD has recently provided $21.8 million in grants to fight the problems against housing discrimination. These funds were awarded to Fair Housing and various non-profit agencies nationwide to help victims of such housing discrimination. While $20 million was allocated for investigations and enforcement of Fair Housing Act laws, the remaining portion was dedicated to education and knowledge. About $1.3 million was provided to groups to help educate the public and housing providers about specific rights and obligations under these fair housing laws. In addition, about half a million was used to organize Fair Housing clinic programs for individuals seeking housing education.
HUD and FHA National Housing Summit – Financial Literacy
HUD Secretary Steve Preston also addressed the issue of financial literacy at the recent National Housing Summit in Washington DC earlier this month. In his statements, Preston mentioned that he released $50 million in housing counseling grants while President Bush requested $65 million in housing counseling for the 2009 budget. By educating and counseling individuals, homebuyers can make smarter, fully informed decisions when it comes time to finance their homes.
While FHA mortgages are certainly quite traditional, there is still a need to establish a level of understanding and comprehension when it comes to such significant financial matters. In addition to increasing knowledge, reform will be made to make sure mortgage lenders are explaining the fine print and details clearly. Such changes are likely to include the issue of closing costs and monthly mortgage obligations. Preston went on to say that such advancements in financial literacy is “just common sense, a good business practice, and it is the right thing to do.”
While the recent economy has put most of us on a pretty wild ride recently, some of the changes and reform are quite positive results. Education has always been a top priority in ensuring the best mortgage option, and increasing this level of knowledge will only help to avoid many of the problems we are now facing.
For the full list of groups and agencies receiving the HUD Fair Housing Grants, it can be found on the HUD News Release 08-164.
For the full speech given by Secretary Steve Preston at the HUD National Housing Summit, you can find the full text here.
Housing Counseling Grants are also mentioned in a White House Fact Sheet released on October 17th, 2008
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