Housing Counseling Program Services
The Network is a HUD-approved organization that is designated as a regional intermediary. Through HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling, the Network provides pass-through housing counseling program funding to its network of qualified sub-grantee affiliate organizations which deliver quality and housing counseling services throughout New Jersey. In this capacity, we exercise administrative oversight around the quality of the services, technical assistance, training and reporting to their network of affiliates. As a result, local organizations that provide housing counseling services are able to apply through our organization for funding.
Through these services and resources, leveraged with other public or private resources, agencies are able to assist hundreds of households across New Jersey in the areas of homeownership counseling, foreclosure counseling, loss modification assistance, reverse mortgage counseling, rental counseling, financial education, budget and credit education and counseling, homeless counseling and other housing education programs. The Network’s affiliate organizations have housing counselors who are trained, certified and meet the National Industry Standards for Housing Counseling.
New Jersey has an average foreclosure rate of 0.17%. The New Jersey foreclosure rate is higher than the national average of 0.09%. As of June 2014, 70,000 homes were in foreclosure in the state.
What is Housing Counseling?
A certified housing counselor is specially trained to assist individuals and households with their financial matters. They assist clients to evaluate options if there are challenges with paying their mortgage loan. Housing counselors can assist in the areas of buying, keeping and refinancing homes. They are able to provide resources to help clients make firm decisions about choosing the best loan for their individual needs. Often, clients are empowered to identify loan terms that are not in their best interest.
Housing Counseling subject matter can include budgeting, savings, learning how to consolidate debts, understanding credit and the credit bureaus, as well as learning other ways to reduce monthly expenses. Unlike servicers, loan officers, brokers or other mortgage loan company representatives, a housing counselor offers independent advisement. Housing counseling services are offered with nominal or no cost to the client. Foreclosure counseling and counseling services for homeless persons are offered free of charge through HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.
("The Benefits of Counseling," New York Times, March 28, 2013) In an evaluation of 75,000 mortgages originated from 2007 to 2009, NeighborWorks [America] determined that borrowers who went through its prepurchase counseling program were nearly a third less likely than noncounseled borrowers to fall behind in payments 90 days or more in the first two years after closing.
“For those buyers who have no idea how to begin the process, might have less-than-perfect credit, might have questions about whether or not they can even afford a home, or concerns about how to avoid being cheated by those deals that seem 'to good to be true,' Freddie Mac recommends the best course of action is visiting with a housing counselor.
"Counselors are trained to help in a variety of situations – from giving advice to someone who's exploring homeownership for the first time, to helping a future homeowner overcome past credit problems (or lack of any credit history at all)"
("Freddie Mac Encourages Homebuyers to Utilize Housing Counselors", DSNews.com,