HUD Grants Available for CUs Through April 7, Foundation Says
WASHINGTON - Credit unions interested in obtaining money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide counseling to first-time, moderate income homebuyers have until April 7 to apply, according to the National Credit Union Foundation. "Our Foundation will apply for a larger HUD grant to help credit unions offer a full range of housing counseling, from pre-purchase to post-occupancy," explained NCUF Program Development Director Ruth Jaure, who has written successful HUD grant proposals for three straight years. "We can use the HUD funds to help credit unions start new housing counseling programs or supplement existing programs." Grant awards pay salaries and benefits of staff to work on housing counseling programs for qualifying credit unions or CUSOs. To qualify, those starting new programs must have the capacity to implement them and comply with federal requirements from the beginning. The ultimate goal is to prepare low-and-moderate income people for homeownership. "Our experience has shown that housing counseling helps credit union members buy their first homes, afford needed improvements, and prevent defaults," Jaure observed. Over the past three years, NCUF has earned more than $1.7 million in HUD grants, funding more than a dozen credit union partners each year. And each year, the Foundation presents its credit union partners with free orientation sessions. As Jaure explained, "We take every opportunity to help credit unions increase their expertise in housing counseling as well as federal grants management."