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June 20. 2013 10:56PM

NH Housing Finance Authority gets $230,000 grant to help consumers

BEDFORD — The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority has received a $230,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to assist families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent foreclosures.

The money is part of more than $40 million in housing counseling grants announced on Tuesday to 334 national, regional and local organizations.

“As a result of these grants and the additional funding they help leverage, more than 1.6 million households will have a greater opportunity to find housing, make more informed housing choices or keep their current homes,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

The NHHFA at 32 Constitution Drive, Bedford, has been approved by HUD as a counseling agency to help navigate the home-buying process.

“The evidence is clear that housing counseling works,” said Donovan. “These grants are a smart investment to help families and individuals find and keep housing, which helps promote neighborhood stability in the long term.”

Most of the grant money will directly support housing counseling services, except for $2 million that will go to two national organizations to train housing counselors.

The NHHFA, a self-supporting pubic service organization, qualified for the grant through a competitive process and was the only New Hampshire agency to receive funding. Three HUD-approved counseling agencies in Massachusetts received grants totalling $2.8 million.

Grant recipients use the money to address a wide range of housing issues, including help in finding affordable rental housing and help in reviewing loan documents so as to avoid mortgage scams, unreasonably high interest rates, inflated appraisals, unaffordable repayment terms and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity, increased debt, default and foreclosure.

The NHHFA, which serves approximately 11,000 New Hampshire families each year, partners with nine local housing counseling agencies to provide a network of housing education and counseling services throughout the state.

The grant will also support three online consumer education programs — Find Financial Freedom, Becoming a Homeowner and Mortgage Credit Counseling.

All are available at www.nhhfa.org.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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