HUD: Budget OK, but Will Limit Homeownership

The Department of Housing and Urban Development responded to its 2015 budget of $45 billion, stating that the funding will allow it to continue its activities, but will likely limit the goal of homeownership for some American families. 

The budget was passed under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama this week, and encompasses $47 million for housing counseling activities, including reverse mortgage counseling. 

But while the budget will allow HUD to focus on its ongoing initiatives, such as securing housing, ending homelessness and protecting homeowners from national disasters, the budget fails to include other initiatives that will have a damaging impact on the American dream, HUD said. 

“HUD’s $45 billion budget allows the Department to support the individuals and organizations that we currently serve, but also limits HUD’s ability to help some new families reach the middle class or pursue their dream of homeownership,” the agency said in a press release. 

The agency pointed specifically to the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) program, which did not receive funding under the bill. Under a pilot program proposed earlier this year, HAWK was designated as a program to provide additional homeowner counseling to new borrowers, and would result in tangible savings on their FHA-insured loans. The implementation of the new program is now delayed at least until the next budget cycle, next year. 

“Over the last few years FHA has proposed a number of steps to better serve borrowers and lenders in an ongoing effort to expand credit access and ultimately continue moving the economy in a positive direction,” said Biniam Gebre, acting FHA commissioner and assistant secretary for Housing. “We are disappointed programs that could have served many families will not be permitted under the bill.”

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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