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NeighborWorks Gets $63 Million to Help Prevent Foreclosures Through Counseling

NeighborWorks America announced on Tuesday that $63.1 million had been awarded by the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program for assistance and counseling for families and individuals facing foreclosure. The funds were awarded to 29 state housing finance agencies, 18 HUD-approved housing counseling intermediaries, and 67 community-based NeighborWorks organizations. More than 167,800 families who face foreclosure are expected to be assisted by the funds. The organization notes that even though the number of households facing foreclosure has dropped below the peak from a few years ago, “many hundreds of thousands of homeowners will still face trouble with their mortgages this year.”

As a result of these awards, more than 1,100 nonprofit counseling agencies and local NeighborWorks organizations all over the country are expected to be engaged in the NFMC program. These organizations provide families at risk of losing their homes with free assistance, help them determine eligibility for the various state and federal foreclosure prevention assistance programs, help them understand the complexities of the foreclosure process, and identify courses of action so these homeowners can make informed decisions, and take action when possible. Although the funds will go a long way to help, demand for NFMC grant funds was in excess of $100 million, meaning that some families who request help will not be getting it.

Research conducted for NeighborWorks America found a 33-percent decline in serious mortgage delinquency for homeowners who received pre-purchase guidance from NeighborWorks compared to similar homeowners who did not receive the same help. Not all the work the organization does involves counseling, however. One example other home-advocacy works is a move to purchase two historic homes in Deadwood, South Dakota, move them to make way for a casino parking lot, and rehab and renovate them so families can move into them by summer. NeighborWorks Dakota Executive Director Joy McCracken said that the board of the organization voted to accept a donation of the two houses and use grant funds to fix them up “after determining that it fits within our mission of providing decent, safe and affordable housing.”

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