$3 Million National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Grant Awarded to N.C. Housing Finance Agency and 20 Counseling Agencies

$3 Million National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Grant Awarded to N.C. Housing Finance Agency and 20 Counseling Agencies

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency announced today that it has received $3,033,000 of federal funds to support local foreclosure prevention counseling efforts by nonprofit counseling agencies in the state. The much-needed boost will enable 20 housing counseling organizations serving 90 counties to provide more counseling to homeowners in danger of foreclosure.

The grant was provided by funds from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. Approved by Congress in the FY08 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program is administered through a competitive application process by NeighborWorks ® America, within guidelines defined by Congress. NeighborWorks® America is an independent, congressionally chartered nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, with a mission to provide access to sustainable homeownership and safe, affordable rental housing.

“The grant will help pay for foreclosure prevention counseling sessions to help 6,000 to 8,000 homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes,” said Lucius S. Jones, chairman of the board of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency. “Our agency is very proud of the successful collaboration that won these funds for North Carolina.”

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency solicited local counseling agencies to participate in the competitive grant application and program, and will distribute the funds to the local groups. The grant will pay the local agencies for approximately 12,000 counseling sessions. North Carolina’s is the 11th largest grant in the country and the 5th largest awarded to a state housing finance agency. Other North Carolina housing counseling agencies that meet the program criteria and want to participate can apply to the housing finance agency for consideration. All the funds are to be used by Dec. 31, 2008.

Jones said the North Carolina application was strengthened because 80 percent of the funds that the counseling agencies receive are projected to be used in areas identified by NeighborWorks® as having “highest need.”  Their determination is based on the number of sub-prime delinquent loans, percentage of sub-prime loans in foreclosure, and the percentage of all loans that are sub-prime. For North Carolina, the areas of greatest need as determined by NeighborWorks® are the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of Burlington; Charlotte/Gastonia/Concord; Durham; Goldsboro; Greensboro/High Point; Rocky Mount; and the rural areas of the state.

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. Its mission is to finance affordable housing for North Carolinians whose needs are not met by the market. In addition, it is working with the state’s housing counseling agencies through its management of the Home Protection Pilot Program that the General Assembly created in 2004 to help workers who lose their jobs because of plant closings and other changes in economic conditions. The agency is also a partner in foreclosure prevention efforts by the Offices of the Commissioner of Banks and the Attorney General.

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The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency is a self-supporting public agency. It has financed 184,000 affordable homes and apartments in the last three decades, including nearly 74,000 homes for first-time home buyers.. To learn more, go to www.nchfa.com or call 919-877-5700 or 800-393-0988.

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