Washington, D.C. – The Arizona Department of Housing today received more than $2 million from NeighborWorks America, a national non-profit created by Congress to support community revitalization, for counseling to families and individuals facing a home foreclosure. The money will be disbursed by the department’s Housing Finance Authority.
Nationwide, homeowner finance groups and state housing agencies are receiving $59.5 million through NeighborWorks’ National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program (NFMCP) in the latest round of grants. Because of the high demand for services stemming from the economic downturn and the ongoing foreclosure crisis, eligible applicants requested more than $195 million in funds.
To help homeowners who might seek such counseling, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva yesterday introduced a bill to allow families receiving a foreclosure notice to petition a judge to stay in the home as renters under a 5-year lease. He called the funding announcement “an opportunity for Arizonans and all Americans to get the information they need to make good decisions about their homes.”
According to NeighborWorks, more than 937,500 families in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam have received foreclosure counseling since January 2008, when the NFMCP began. The program offers assistance to families at risk of foreclosure, screens clients for eligibility for the Making Home Affordable programs, helps clients understand the complex foreclosure process and identifies possible courses of action.
“Navigating the legal and financial alleys of today’s housing market is a full-time job, and families who are trying to make ends meet deserve some help,” Grijalva said. “Counseling programs are a crucial way to educate the public and make sure communities know their rights. Now is the right time to offer this assistance, while the economy continues to get back on its feet and we attempt to bring the foreclosure crisis under control.”
The funding is provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010, which became law in December.