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HUD Region VI: 13-60
Patricia Campbell/Scott Hudman
(817) 978-5974/(713) 718-3109
Twitter: @HUDSouthwest
FOR RELEASE
Tuesday
June 18, 2013

 ARKANSAS TO RECEIVE OVER $86,000 FOR HOUSING COUNSELING
Fort Smith, Harrison, Jonesboro, Little Rock, and Russellville Agencies Receive Grants

LITTLE ROCK – As part of its continuing effort to assist families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced $86,774 in housing counseling grants to Arkansas housing counseling agencies in Fort Smith, Harrison, Jonesboro, Little Rock and Russelville..  Nationally, more than $40 million was awarded to 334 national, regional and local organizations. 

As a result of these grants and the additional funding they help leverage, more than 1.6 million households nationwide will have a greater opportunity to find housing, make more informed housing choices or keep their current homes. 

“The evidence is clear that housing counseling works,” said HUD Acting Regional Administrator Mark Brezina. “The HUD-approved counseling agencies this funding supports are crucial in helping families manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, avoid foreclosure and secure their financial futures.”

Agencies use their grants to address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs.  This includes helping homebuyers navigate the homeownership process; helping households find affordable rental housing; offering foreclosure prevention counseling; offering financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options; assisting homeless persons in finding transitional housing; and counseling senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM).

Housing counseling agencies also support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation to avoid potential mortgage scams.

The grantees and amounts awarded (grantee summaries follow):

FORT SMITH

CRAWFORD SEBASTIAN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL

$18,905.00

HARRISON

NORTHWEST REGIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

$15,952.00

JONESBORO

JONESBORO URBAN RENEWAL AND HOUSING AUTHORITY HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION (JURHA HCDO)

$18,167.00

LITTLE ROCK

BETTER COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, INC.

$13,000.00

RUSSELLVILLE

UNIVERSAL HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

$20,750.00

Of the $40 million awarded today, more than $38 million in grant funds will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 27 national and regional organizations, eight multi-state organizations, 22 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 277 local housing counseling agencies.  In addition, HUD is awarding $2 million to two national organizations to train housing counselors who will receive the instruction and certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs.

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

HUD studies show the effectiveness of housing counseling.  Last year, HUDreleased two reports on the impact of HUD-approved housing counseling for families who purchase their first homes and those struggling to prevent foreclosure.  In both studies, HUD found housing counseling significantly improved the likelihood homeowners remained in their homes.

HUD’s new mobile app allows smartphone and tablet users to locate housing counselors in their own area.

Grantee Summaries:

Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc.
Fort Smith, AR
$18,905.00--Comprehensive Counseling

Organized in 1965, Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Inc. (C-SCDC) is a community action agency whose purpose is to make improvements in the lives of low-income individuals and families and the community in which they live with the goal of self-reliant living.  This proactive community action agency extends valuable services including housing counseling to assist clients obtain affordable housing; homebuyer’s down payment and closing cost assistance; pre-purchase; resolving/preventing mortgage delinquency or default; non-delinquency post purchase; rental; Self-Help housing to build homes in rural areas for low- and moderate-income families; owner-occupied home rehabilitation to rectify health and safety issues; acquisition/resale of Fort Smith sub-standard properties; weatherization of homes to conserve energy and reduce our carbon footprint; Individual Development Accounts with 3 to 1 matched savings for education, homeownership or small business development; Community Dental Clinic serving those of low or no income; Child Care Food Program to ensure quality food is fed to children in daycares; Low-Income Home Energy Assistance; River Valley Regional Food Bank distributing over six million pounds of food to 200 qualifying agencies; and Emergency Solutions Grant to prevent homelessness and serve those presently experiencing homelessness. . 

Northwest Regional Housing Authority
Harrison, AR
$15,952.00--Comprehensive Counseling

Northwest Regional Housing Authority became a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency March 25, 2010.  Northwest Regional Housing Authority is approved to counsel clients on Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution Counseling, Fair Housing Assistance, Homebuyer Education Programs, Money Debt Management, Pre-purchase Counseling, Predatory Lending, Home Improvement and Rehabilitation Counseling, Loss Mitigation, Post Purchase Counseling and Renters Assistance Counseling.  In 1977, Northwest Regional Housing Authority was organized to administer HUD rental assistance in seven counties of Northwest Arkansas to provide needed rental housing assistance to families facing financial distress or displacement.  Northwest Regional Housing Authority‘s mission is to ensure clean, safe, decent and affordable housing for low, very low, and extremely low income families in its service area.  In order to accomplish this mission Northwest Regional Housing Authority administers 58 units of traditional Public Housing, 676 Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8 Rental Assistance), including Section 8 Homeownership opportunities for eligible families.  The Housing Authority also administers a USDA Rural Development Mutual Self Help Housing program that has built 100 homes in the past 8 years.  Northwest Regional has built USDA Rural Development affordable multifamily housing properties and currently manages 13 senior and multifamily affordable apartment complexes for other developers. 

JURHA Housing and Community Development Organization (JURHA HCDO)
Jonesboro, AR
$18,167.00 --Comprehensive Counseling

The JURHA Housing and Community Development Organization (JURHA HCDO) is a component non-profit unit of the Jonesboro Urban Renewal and Housing Authority (JURHA), sharing a common Board of Directors, management staff, mission statement and policies.  JURHA HCDO was created for the development of cooperative neighborhood and community revitalization programs including direct housing development and housing supportive services, housing counseling, community resource referrals, and technical assistance service.  JURHA HCDO received HUD approval as a Housing Counseling Agency as of January 31, 2007.  The services provided include counseling in Financial Management/Budget, Mortgage Delinquency and Default Resolution, Pre-Purchase, Rental Housing, and Fair Housing; workshops regarding Financial Budgeting and Credit, Predatory Lending, Non-Delinquency Post Purchase, and Pre-Purchase Homebuyer Education.  The JURHA HCDO Housing Counseling Agency offers a “Mortgage Ready” program to enable individuals who may not be ready for a mortgage loan pre-approval to commit to a plan to become mortgage ready within 3-24 months.  Certified Staff has provided Housing Counseling Services to the residents of Northeast Arkansas since November, 2004.  

Better Community Development, Inc.
Little Rock, AR
$13,000.00--Comprehensive Counseling

Better Community Development, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 faith-based organization that’s been in operation since 1981.  The organization has always been involved in direct contact with the low to moderate income disadvantaged population in the mid-town of the city of Little Rock, AR.  The services provided are pre-purchase and resolving/preventing mortgage delinquency or default counseling, substance abuse treatment, after school programming for youth, emergency shelter and supportive housing for persons with disabilities.  As self-sufficiency increased with the numbers served home ownership ideas increased and became personal goals of persons that thought owing their home was never in their futures.  In order to assist the participants in achieving their goals our focus needed to expand into providing housing services and affordable housing to this hard to serve community so they too would have access to affordable housing and the necessary skills to obtain and retain housing.   

Universal Housing Development Corporation (UHDC)
Russellville, AR
$20,750.00--Comprehensive Counseling

Universal Housing Development Corporation (UHDC) has been providing high quality housing related services to the people of the Second, Third, and Fourth Congressional Districts of Arkansas since 1971.  As a HUD-approved housing counseling agency since 1977, UHDC is able to offer a full range of counseling services to clients in Arkansas.    UHDC focuses on individual counseling.  We also offer Homebuyer Education, Post-Purchase Education, and Financial Education Classes in both English and Spanish and will continue to expand our course offerings.  UHDC is a 501(c) 3 corporation organized under the direction of a community-based board of directors with a mission to promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a suitable living environment, free from discrimination.  UHDC offers a full range of housing-related services from rental assistance, multi-family housing, pre-purchase, resolving/preventing mortgage delinquency or default, non-delinquency post purchase, homeless counseling, and new home construction, to weatherization and several different homeowner rehabilitation programs.  UHDC chartered with NeighborWorks® America in 2002.  Helping others to meet their housing needs is a way of life at UHDC.

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