How did programs impacting housing counseling do in the Fiscal Year 2016 federal budget this year?
- $40 million for NFMC, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling funding (down from $50 million last year). NFMC was zeroed out in the Senate and the House had funded it at $42 million, so we ended up very close to the highest number we could have hoped for and avoided having the program completely defunded. A lot of work from many groups went into preserving this badly needed foreclosure counseling funding. Hats off especially to the many groups working on this, including housing counseling groups in Maine, South Florida, Cleveland, northeastern Missouri, and Fresno, the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, HomeFree USA, National Council of La Raza, Homeownership Preservation Foundation, and the Coalition of HUD Intermediaries.
- $47 million for HUD Housing Counseling (same as last year’s funding). This was not a surprise since both the House and Senate had funded at this level, but still good news not to lose funding.
- HAWK prohibition. Language prohibiting funding from being used for HUD’s HAWK pilot is still included in the bill. HAWK provided reduced mortgage insurance payments for FHA homebuyers who received housing counseling from HUD approved housing counseling agencies. We worked on lifting the prohibition late in the process this year and will start work on this earlier.
- Hardest Hit Funds. Two billion dollars in unspent Making Home Affordable funds will be reassigned to the state Hardest Hit Funds. The funds will be distributed based on population and on how quickly the state spent their original Hardest Hit Funds. Depending on state priorities, these funds can go to principal reduction programs, blight, and other programs.
We have our work cut out for us in 2016, but we have made serious progress in getting recognition and engagement, especially with House and Senate Congressional leadership.
We look forward to working with you in 2016.