(Source: Senator Robert Menendez) — U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced nearly $700,000 in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Housing Counseling Program to 15 agencies throughout New Jersey.

“Providing services to help increase financial literacy – especially when it comes to housing – is not only good for New Jersey’s families, it’s good for the whole economy,” said Senator Menendez, who led the effort in the U.S. Senate to keep HUD’s Housing Counseling Program funded in fiscal year 2013 and is fighting to secure funding for fiscal year 2014. “This funding will help put more New Jersey families on a path to affordable housing and homeownership, and help more seniors stay in their own homes by using the equity they have built.

The funding announced today:

– $20,750 to the Affordable Housing Alliance, Inc. (Eatontown)
– $19, 274 to the Atlantic Human Resources, Inc. (Atlantic City)
– $21,119 to the Central Jersey Housing Resource Center, Inc. (Raritan)
– $65,074 to the Consumer Credit and Budget Counseling (National Foundation For Debt Management) (Marmora)
– $20,381to the Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey (Hackensack)
– $248,948 to the Garden State Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc. (Freehold)
– $19,274 to the Paterson Housing Authority (Paterson)
– $155,232 to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (Trenton)
– $15, 214 to the North Hudson Community Action Corporation (West New York)
– $17,798 to the Ocean Community Economic Action Now, Inc. (Toms River)
– $13,000 to the Paterson Task Force For Community Action (Paterson)
– $15,952 to the Puerto Rican Association For Human Development, Inc. (Perth Amboy)
– $18,167 to the Senior Citizens United Community Services of Camden County, Inc. (Audubon)
– $20,750 to the Perth Amboy Housing Authority (Perth Amboy)
– $17,429 to the Tri-City Peoples Corporation (East Orange)

HUD’s Housing Counseling Program provides services to homebuyers, homeowners, low- to moderate-income renters, and the homeless in order to expand homeownership opportunities and improve access to affordable housing. Counselors provide guidance and advice to help families and individuals improve their housing conditions and meet responsibilities of tenancy and homeownerships. Counselors also help borrowers avoid inflated appraisals, unreasonably high interests rates, unaffordable repayment terms, and other conditions that can result in the loss of equity, increased debt, default, and foreclosure.

Applicants funded through this program may also provide Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling to elderly homeowners who are looking to convert equity in their homes into income that can be used to pay for home improvements, medical costs, living expenses, or other expenses.

In March, Senator Menendez introduced legislation to help stabilize the HECM program, keep it economically viable, while reducing the cost to taxpayers.

Source: Senator Robert Menendez

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Alex Ferreras
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