The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was enacted in 1977 to eliminate redlining and to expand credit access to all communities, including low-moderate income earning neighborhoods. The CRA strengthened the expectation that banks serve the convenience and needs of local communities. Currently, the CRA requires Federal financial institutions, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to assess and evaluate the record of each bank in its ability to fulfill community obligations and to consider the record of evaluating applications for charters, bank mergers, branch openings, and acquisitions. In May 2022, the Federal Reserve Board, the FDIC, and the OCC announced that they wanted to adopt changes to strengthen and modernize regulations in the CRA. CRA reform is a critical tool for improving racial inequality among communities of color. By holding banks accountable to the financial demands of local communities, particularly low-moderate income earning communities. The CRA is one of the most important federal policies for affordable housing and community development financing, generating hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and equity investments every year. The CRA is responsible for 75% to 85% of annual investor demand for the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) incentive. Among our National Housing Resource Center comments were the following proposals specific to housing counseling: Recognizing lender fee-for-service payments for housing counseling services by HUD approved housing counseling agencies as an eligible activity under the Community Reinvestment Act. This eligible activity provides significant value for the underserved population, especially low-moderate income people and people of color. While lenders recognize the value of HUD approved housing counseling agencies in addressing the troubling and persistent gaps in [...]
Housing counselors are always the "canary in the coal mine" for emerging consumer issues. When we asked for your feedback in the beginning of the Pandemic, your answers served to change the narrative. At the time, servicers were touting that homeowners would be able to easily access assistance with the new CARES Act Forbearance option. Your answers showed that it wasn't as easy as it seemed, and call center representatives were giving inaccurate information to homeowners. Right now, information is being circulated that indicates mortgage delinquencies are at historic lows. While we certainly hope this is accurate, we want to hear from you to be certain we understand what is happening at a grass roots level. To do that, we’d like to get your feedback by way of this survey. Please fill it out as soon as you can but no later than July 22nd. During the Great Recession, housing counselors helped millions of homeowners navigate the loss mitigation process. Homeowners were experiencing long holds when trying to contact their servicer by phone, getting repeated requests for documentation that had already been submitted, and hearing answers from call center representatives that were at the least misleading and at the worst completely incorrect. In too many cases, homeowners ended up losing their home to foreclosure because of these servicer related issues. Housing counselors stepped up and were able to ensure that homeowners were getting the help they needed and were entitled to receive. One key tool was a list of servicer escalation contacts specifically for housing counselors to use when they saw that the usual channels for loss mitigation were not working properly. The escalation contacts offered an avenue that [...]
For our 6/23/22 Leaders in Housing Counseling Webinar, IndiSoft presented on their new platform, National Housing Advocacy Platform. This platform is where housing counselors can share documents with participating servicers and lenders through a single interface via a web browser. No more “I haven’t received your documents yet” or “I’m waiting for the lender to fax it over.” IndiSoft has created a new central location for housing counselors to connect with all parties at once! Currently, Wells Fargo, Caliber, and PennyMac participate in the platform, with other providers expected soon. Here are some parties that could benefit from this platform: Housing Counselors Homebuyers or Homeowners Servicers/Lenders State HFA’s or Investors Webinar Links IndiSoft Webinar Webinar PowerPoint Presentation NHRC Servicer Counselor Contact List- Please email Ellie Pepper for the password. IndiSoft Future Webinars Please be sure to register for one of our upcoming Leaders in Housing Counseling Webinars. Click the links below to get started: June 30, 2022 @ 1:00p EST / 11:00a CST Accessory Dwelling Units: An Affordable Housing Option July 28, 2022 @ 1:00p EST / 11:00a CST Helping Homeowners Navigate the Home Appraisal Process
The need for qualified and passionate housing counselors is a must have for many organizations that provide housing counseling services in the communities they serve. With tight budgets for many nonprofit organizations, the National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) created a housing counseling jobs board where housing counseling jobs can be posted, and people looking for jobs can search, all without charge. Why It Was Created NHRC and other organizations across the country realized that agencies would be looking to hire in order to help build capacity with the Housing Stability Counseling Program funding, other funding sources, and the increasing demand for housing counseling services. Since its inception, The National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) has been at the forefront of the housing counseling community by organizing nonprofit housing counseling agencies into a unified voice throughout the United States. We are also dedicated to organizing nonprofit housing counseling agencies to advocate for and on behalf of communities of color, the elderly, low and moderate-income people, and underserved populations. NHRC continuously works to advance public policies, programs, and educational materials that will strengthen the housing counseling industry and benefit housing consumers. The Housing Counseling Job Board is a tool we hope will help organizations strengthen and grow their services. Why You Should Use It Posting available positions at your organization on the NHRC Housing Counseling Career job board is free to all HUD-approved housing counseling agencies across the country, regardless of size or the community in which they serve. Using the NHRC Housing Counseling Career job board breaks the monotony of sifting through countless resumes from applicants who have no experience in the housing counseling community, and brings into view those who are specifically interested in the industry. [...]
2021 was a year filled with continual changes and National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) has worked tirelessly to help provide up-to-date information to keep you, the housing counseling community, well informed on these changes through our Leaders in Housing Counseling Webinars. Each webinar was carefully crafted to include industry leaders and subject matter experts who have lent their voices to help us in our endeavor. While all our webinars are jam-packed with relevant information and tools, here is a list of some of our favorites: The Disabled Community: How Can We Serve Them Better New Changes to Student Loan Forgiveness Condos/HOA: What Housing Counselors Need to Know Protecting Generational Wealth – Keeping the Family Homestead For your convenience, we have provided a complete list of all the webinars held in 2021, webinar presenters, and live links to get you directly to the webinar. You can also follow us on our YouTube Channel or go to our website, where you will find additional webinars held over the years. We hope you take a moment to view each webinar and please be on the lookout for upcoming Leaders in Housing Counseling Webinars. 1/14/2021 Forbearance and Foreclosure Updates Mark McArdle, Assistant Director, Mortgage Markets, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Lisa Sitkin, Senior Staff Attorney, National Housing Law Project 1/28/2021 A Conversation with David Berenbaum David Berenbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary, HUD Office of Housing Counseling 2/18/2021 Stimulus and Housing Counseling: Impact on Our Work Alys Cohen, National Consumer Law Center Joseph Sant, Center for NYC Neighborhoods Chris Krehmeyer, Beyond Housing Lot Diaz, Unidos 3/03/2021 Addressing Student Loan Debt Natalia Abrams, President, Student Debt Crisis Center Cody Hounanian, Executive Director, Student Debt Crisis Center Lindsay Clark, Director of External Affairs, [...]
Why do Black and Brown borrowers have such a small share of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan portfolio?
In 2020, 3.06% of loans purchased by Fannie Mae were for Black borrowers and 8.03% were Hispanic borrowers. In comparison, 65.61 % were for white borrowers1. For Freddie Mac in 2020, 3.28% of loans purchased were to Black borrowers and 6.77% to Hispanic borrowers. Compare that to 64.62% of loans were for white borrowers2. This poor performance with Black and Hispanic borrowers is an ongoing problem in meeting an important market opportunity and addressing the racial homeownership gap. Compare these numbers with FHA-insured mortgages, wherein 2020, 12.74% of FHA loans went to Black borrowers, 17.29% of loans went to Hispanic borrowers and 50.11% went to white borrowers3. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not do a good job lending to people with lower downpayments and lower credit scores. But Black and Brown borrowers are more likely than white borrowers to have a lower downpayment and a lower credit score. Black and Brown borrowers coming from lower wealth communities are not be able to save as many funds for a downpayment. Their families are typically lower in wealth and have less ability to gift downpayment contributions to help with the purchase. They are also more likely to be rent-burdened, paying a higher proportion of their income for rent and, as a result, having greater difficulty saving downpayment funds. At the same time, Fannie Mae and Freddie maintain very high credit score averages. The average credit score in the Fannie Mae portfolio is 7514. For Freddie Mac, the average credit score is 7595. Compare that to the average credit score of Black households, which is 677, and for Hispanic households, 701. White average credit scores are 7346. Over 50% of white people have FICO scores above [...]
In all the activity around the Build Back Better Budget Reconciliation Bill on Capital Hill, we wanted to make a strong statement for homeownership. National Housing Resource Center organized a letter signed by 152 national, local, and regional organizations who are all in full support. The housing market needs substantial investment to help increase the supply of affordable housing, improve access to homeownership, and address the troubling homeownership gap for Black and Brown people. Addressed to members of Congress, the Senate, and Legislative Directors, this letter emphasizes the importance of homeownership for the economy and urges them all to support full funding for homeownership in the Build Back Better Budget Reconciliation Bill. To read this letter and to see the local groups that signed please click this link. Here are the national groups who signed: Affordable Homeownership Foundation, Inc. Americans for Financial Reform Coalition for the Homeless Consumer Action Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling, Inc. d/b/a National Foundation for Debt Management Center for Community Progress Center for Responsible Lending CENTRO DE APOYO FAMILIAR, CAF Consumer Federation of America Esperanza HomeFree-USA Homeownership Council of America Integrated Community Solutions, Inc. National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals - NAHREP National Association of Latino Community Assets Builders National Association of Real Estate Brokers - NAREB National Association of Realtors National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development - CAPACD National Community Stabilization Trust National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) National Fair Housing Alliance National Housing Law Project National Housing Resource Center National NeighborWorks Association Navicore Solutions NID Housing Counseling Agency Prosperity Now Reinvestment Partners Rural Community Assistance Corporation UnidosUS Woodstock Institute
Can you believe it? NHRC is nine years old! It seems like only yesterday that NHRC was a brand-new baby and look where we are now. It has been quite a year: We pushed for $100 Million in new funding for housing counseling in the American Rescue Plan, which is now the Housing Stability Counseling Program administered by NeighborWorks America. No final number on the FY 2022 budget yet, but the House has put us in for the full $100 million for the HUD Housing Counseling assistance that we requested. We continue to encourage the Senate to do the same. Our contributions to Maxine Waters’ staff and the Black Homeownership Collaborative are paying off with the likely inclusion of a first-generation homebuyer down payment assistance program in the latest budget reconciliation bill. We should know shortly. We continue to advocate for the Eviction Crisis Act, the Disaster Recovery Act, and Housing Financial Literacy Act, along with a role for housing counseling in these bills. We have kept the pace up on our Leaders in Housing Counseling calls; the latest on eviction protection, forbearance, and foreclosure prevention, manufactured housing, thinking about systemic racism, student loans, Black and Brown homeownership preservation, and more. We have pivoted our outreach work with local housing counseling agencies to do virtual events on home buying and homeowner preservation. We continue to progress on standardizing housing counseling data fields, so our work can communicate electronically with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, lenders, servicers, and HUD (shout out to David Young on his leadership). Our significant discount for Credit Reports for NHRC members and the SAVI student loan program continues. We are making the voices of housing counseling heard in the public arena and [...]
Compensation: $55,000 to $60,000 Annually Benefits Offered: 401K, Dental, Medical, Vision Employment Type: Full-Time Reports to: Executive Director FLSA Status: Exempt Prepared Date: July 26, 2021 Click HERE to Apply. POSITION SUMMARY: The Housing Policy Director will lobby in Congress on housing issues, develop policy positions, and work with housing counseling agencies and housing advocates. This job is a high-impact position with national significance, which will require resourcefulness and initiative. The National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) is an advocacy organization, providing leadership for the nonprofit housing counseling community and the clients they serve. NHRC brings together the many parts of the housing counseling community to be an effective advocacy voice in policymaking and program design. Housing counseling agencies are working to increase homeownership, prevent foreclosures, and assist underserved communities. Employees will impact and develop national housing policy, working with Congress, HUD, Treasury, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and leading housing advocates. The Housing Policy Director is an exempt position. Exempt employees are expected to work the appropriate and necessary time to complete key assignments and related tasks on schedule. ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Develop policy positions for NHRC which represent the interests of the Hnonprofit housing counseling community and the people they serve Work with local agencies, state networks, and national organizations to identify issues and develop consensus positions on policy issues Write policy briefs and position papers for use by policymakers and member organizations Communicate with Congressional offices on policy issues Convene and participate in conference calls and meetings on policy issues Provide appropriate content for the NHRC website, listserve, and all other NHRC outlets Represent NHRC at public meetings, conference calls, and electronic discussion forums Develop the reputation of housing counseling [...]
Your support is NEEDED! Chairwoman Maxine Waters, head of the House Financial Services Committee, is asking for endorsers for her three major housing bills. Please consider if your organization wants to provide an endorsement for each of these significant bills. A strong showing by the housing counseling community is helpful. Our deadline is 2:00pm EST on July 16, 2021. Downpayment Towards Equity: This is a $10 billion commitment to First Time Homebuyer and First Generation homebuyers. Grants of up to $20,000 and for socially and economically disadvantaged an extra $5,000. Housing counseling is required for most of the grants. This is the bill we have been working on and a major goal of the Black Homeownership Collaborative. Your agency endorsement can be entered here. Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2021: This bill provides significant funding for a mix of federal affordable construction, rehabilitation, and preservation programs, including additional CDBG funding for localities. It also creates a national infrastructure bank. A summary of the bill is here. Your agency endorsement can be entered here. The Endling Homelessness Act of 2021: This bill phases in a universal Section 8 rental voucher program, which would mean that every low-income people person that needed it would get a subsidized, affordable rent (currently on a quarter do). A summary of the ambitious bill is here. Your agency endorsement for this bill can be entered here. Email me if there are questions. Thanks in advance for all your help. -Bruce Bruce Dorpalen National Housing Resource Center firstname.lastname@example.org (267) 773-7210
On July 1, 2021, Ellie Pepper was promoted as the Deputy Director of the National Housing Resource Center (NHRC). Ellie has been working for 30 years on issues related to disenfranchised communities and affordable housing. At NHRC, Ellie has enthusiastically jumped into our work developing our outreach programs to reach underserved homebuyers and homeowners, convened our Leaders in Housing Counseling calls, guided many conversations for protecting first-time homebuyers in today’s market, crafted COVID-19 resilience strategies, monitored and publicized the effectiveness of mortgage forbearance, and much more. Ellie has worked with many of you to bring your experiences and your concerns forward. Join us in congratulating Ellie on a job well done! We look forward to all of the amazing work you will do in the days to come!
As we look forward to recognizing National Homeownership Month this year (June 2021), we cannot ignore the issues that plague potential first-time homebuyers across the country. First-time homebuyers of modest means who need a mortgage to purchase a home face stiff competition from cash buyers and well-funded investors in the current market and are being blocked from achieving homeownership in many ways. The National Association of Realtors reported in April 2021 that 25% of all home sales were all-cash deals, which has increased from 15% reported in 2020. Investors and cash buyers are pushing consumers with a modest income and owner-occupant buyers out of the market. This disproportionately impacts buyers of color and first-time homebuyers. By purchasing moderately priced homes through all-cash deals, buyers are artificially inflating the real estate market and aiding in gentrification in many neighborhoods across the country. Investors are also turning owner-occupied single-family homes into non-owner-occupied rentals which diminish the sense of community many first-time homebuyers look for when seeking their dream home. These issues are hitting all over the U.S. in both rural and urban areas. Housing counselors and advocates for affordable housing began raising the alarm about this issue in early 2020. Real estate agents were telling homebuyers to waive property inspections and even appraisal contingencies to be competitive. Buyers were told that cash offers with quick turnaround were beating out their offers (sometimes even for lower amounts). Private equity companies were bidding up single-family home prices to switch homes to long-term rentals – fueled by Wall Street investors. On behalf of American for Financial Reform, National Housing Resource Center (NHRC) convened a working group that identified five specific areas to address: Incentives for selling to first-time buyers/owner-occupants Amassing [...]
Black homeownership has plummeted since the Great Recession. Systemic racism, equity stripping, and a significant loss of affordable housing are just a few reasons for this declination in Black homeowners throughout the US. The National Housing Resource Center has joined with the National Housing Conference, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Fair Housing Alliance many other organizations working collaboratively through the Black Homeownership Collaborative to ensure that there are 3 million new Black homeowners by the year 2030. To do this, a 7-point plan has been devised that will address several key areas that have caused Black homeownership to continually plummet since the end of the Great Recession. Over one hundred housing leaders that span the political spectrum in areas of housing advocacy and industry recommend seven “tangible, actionable, and scalable” steps that will aid in addressing the gap in housing disparities between Black and white homeowners. As this is just the beginning in bringing Black homeownership to “levels never previously attained”, they are assured that these steps will lead to new strategies as this plan unfolds. The National Housing Resource Center (NHRC), HomeFree-USA, and NeighborWorks America co-chaired the Downpayment Assistance and the Housing Counseling Workstreams. To read this plan in detail, click here. Homeownership Counseling – Providing homeownership counseling helps to close the gap in many of these areas by getting much-needed information to would be Black homebuyers. The plan calls for sustained funding for housing counseling and strategies to get homebuyers and homeowners to housing counseling programs early in the process. Downpayment Assistance – Discriminatory housing policies and growing racial wealth gaps play a major role in many Black and Brown families not having much needed resources to save for [...]
National Housing Resource Center was instrumental in ensuring that the Biden Administration include funding for housing counseling in the American Rescue Plan Act. We are incredibly happy that $100 million was added because of our advocacy and that the funds were designated to flow through NeighborWorks America as was done with the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program during the financial crisis. While the NFMC program was incredibly helpful and made it possible for housing counseling agencies to build capacity and meet the needs of consumers, there were lessons housing counselors learned which could strengthen new programs. We convened a working group of thirty-eight (38) housing counseling leaders to discuss best practices from the NFMC program and review what needed to be done differently. As a result, we were able to submit a comprehensive list of proposals to NeighborWorks America for the design of the Covid-19 Housing Counseling Funding. The full list of proposals can be found here. Below are a few key highlights. A program can only be properly distributed with adequate administration. This is also true with distributing housing counseling services to any community. The working group believes that there should be adequate support for administrative costs to both subgrantees and intermediaries. NeighborWorks America should prioritize direct funding to agencies for the services they provide over funding for program research and staff training for the first $100 million. We strongly support analytic reviews of the work and staff training but suggest that funding for this comes from later COVID 19 funding. Agencies need funding now to expand capacity and deliver services to consumers in need. The working group recognized that smaller agencies would receive lower funding allocations even though their capacity building may [...]
The impact of COVID-19 has reached many across our nation in various ways. As we are entering the second year of this pandemic, many Americans are faced with the possibility of homelessness. The loss of jobs and reduction of hours available to work makes it impossible to meet the demands of paying rent. This has a domino effect. Landlords also fall into this downward spiral as rent not only helps them to maintain their properties but also provides the capital needed to pay their mortgage and provide for their own families. There have been $300 billion in emergency funds given to various housing programs to provide “direct rental assistance” to those in need in hopes of preventing eviction. Within these agencies, Housing Counselors have been identified as a much-needed resource in disseminating these funds. Typically, housing counselors assist homeowners who faced foreclosure and future homeowners in the home buying process. Since COVID-19, housing counselors have had to include tenant assistance in their work. Although housing counselors are a needed resource in connecting renters with the help required to prevent eviction, there are not enough funds available to assist groups to hire and train new counselors to help meet the growing need. The question now becomes, “how do we as a nation create the capacity to help more Americans get the help they need.” This week, The Urban Institute (Urban), a research organization dedicated to developing evidence-based insights that improve people’s lives and strengthen communities, published a brief entitled "Housing Counseling to Support Renters in Crisis." In this brief, Urban reached out to 18 leaders from several housing counseling agencies and the National Housing Resource Center and asked the following questions: How has housing counseling adapted [...]