Here is the summary of how the new budget will impact housing counseling:

  • $40 million for NFMC, the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling funding (down from $50 million last year).  As you know, NFMC had been 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, 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.

One of our strongest successes in 2016 was establishing working relationships with a number of key Republican leaders in Congress.  We will plan to do more work in 2016 on federal housing counseling funding and on ending the HAWK prohibition.