E-Communication from the Hispanic National Bar Association

April 21, 2015
Washington D.C. “The HNBA was proud when Julián Castro was appointed as HUD Secretary, but it warms your heart even more when  you read about the actions taken by Secretary Castro in his new role,” said HNBA National President, Cynthia D. Mares.   Under the leadership of Secretary Castro, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded over $36 million in grants to hundreds of national, regional and local organizations to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures.  HUD’s housing counseling grants and the additional funding they help to leverage will assist more than 1.5 million households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes.
HUD is also establishing a new Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee to help the Department provide consumers with the knowledge they need to find and sustain decent housing.  The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 requires HUD’s Secretary to appoint no more than 12 individuals from various backgrounds to offer advice to the Department regarding the functions of the Office of Housing Counseling.  HNBA members interested in housing issues should consider applying for a position on the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee. The application deadline is May 14, 2015.
More than $34 million will directly support the housing counseling services provided by 29 national and regional organizations, six multi-state organizations, 20 State Housing Finance Agencies (SHFAs) and 215 local housing counseling agencies.  In addition, HUD is awarding $2 million to three national organizations to train housing counselors who will receive the instruction and certification necessary to effectively assist families with their housing needs.
Grant recipients utilize funding to address the full range of families’ housing counseling needs.  This includes helping homebuyers realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and down payment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process.  Grantees also help households find affordable rental housing and offer financial literacy training to individuals and families struggling to repair credit problems that restrict their housing options.
In addition to providing counseling to homeowners and renters, these organizations assist homeless persons in finding the transitional housing they need to move toward a permanent place to live. Grantees will also assist senior citizens seeking reverse mortgages or (HECM).  These agencies provide counseling for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, and other living expenses.
Housing counseling agencies support fair housing by assisting borrowers in reviewing their loan documentation, to avoid potential mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default, and even foreclosure.  Likewise, foreclosure prevention counseling helps homeowners facing delinquency or default employ strategies, including expense reduction, negotiation with lenders and loan servicers, and loss mitigation, to avoid foreclosure.
There are many ways to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.  Visit HUD’s website or call 1-800-569-4287 for their interactive telephone directory.   Get the free housing counseling iPhone app from the app store (not yet available for android).  Watch HUD’s video and the American Bar Association video on how housing counseling can help families find and keep housing.

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About the Hispanic National Bar Association
The Hispanic National Bar Association is an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association that represents the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories. Since 1972, the HNBA has acted as a force for positive change within the legal profession by creating opportunities for Hispanic lawyers and by helping generations of lawyers to succeed. The HNBA has also effectively advocated on issues of importance to the national Hispanic community. While we are proud of our accomplishments, we are mindful that our mission is as vital today as it was four decades ago, especially as the U.S. Hispanic population continues to grow. For more information, please visit


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