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Housing Counseling-Is It Enough?

“It’s not just a low-income problem. We’re seeing folks who are middle and upper income as well… loss of employment has been the catalyst, or a family crisis or some other emergency has triggered the problem.” — Case Worker at NFP Mortgage Counseling Agency

Not-For Profits to the Rescue?
Millions have been put out of their homes by foreclosure, with millions more hurtling in that direction this year. The problem is ripping families apart. Meanwhile, programs such as NeighborWorks America and Housing Counseling Services have been cropping up around the country in response to the permanent housing underclass. Typically such not-for-profit enterprises are funded by Congress through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). But in 2012 HUD received just half its requested funding and a similar 2013 appropriation is on its way. Why isn’t Washington sold on not-for-profit organizations offering counseling to homeowners? Do such organizations bring solutions, or peddle false hope?

Counselors Can Only Do So Much
If all goes well in working with a counseling agency, counselors can act as neutral go-betweens bridging the gap between homeowners and lenders: but there is only so much that can be done. At the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, 70% of clients are driven to counseling by unemployment; and it’s hard to negotiate with your mortgage company if you cannot establish that you have steady income. Counselors repeatedly stress that clients should not be paying for help when HUD-approved services are free. Of course the fact remains, you get what you pay for and in order to justify its funding from HUD, counseling agencies must maintain a high caseload and open-door policy. Counselors can only do so much. Homeowners who want more tailored advice should consider speaking with a knowledgeable Attorney that can help them sort through their finances.

Don’t Go It Alone: Get Advice
Regardless of whether homeowners look to Federally-funded housing counselors or reach out to a knowledge local Attorney, they should make the decision not to endure the foreclosure process alone. After all, trained professionals are available to help them through the process and the first call and appointment is inevitably free. If you’ve got questions, what have you got to lose?

For a no-cost telephone consultation and office visit, contact us at mhedayat@mha-law.com or call 630-378-2200 to set up an office visit. We have convenience payment plans available and work with both consumer and business clients throughout the Chicagoland area. If you believe that it is too early to speak with an Attorney, check out these agencies:


NeighborWorks America
Housing Counseling Services, Inc.
Homeownership Preservation Foundation


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