A national collaboration of lenders, investors, real estate agents and housing counselors has been formed to raise awareness about the benefits of working with housing counseling agencies.
The new group, dubbed the Homeownership Collaborative, includes the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Housing Resource Center, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, HomeFree USA, National Council of La Raza, NID-HCA, Rural Community Assistance Corp., Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Chhaya Community Development Corp., HomeSmartNY, Housing Options & Planning Enterprises, Beyond Housing, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland. These entities will work together to help boost home buyer participation in education and counseling programs, which are a proven way to keep borrowers out of default.
A big part of the consortium’s job will be raising awareness of counseling programs. One of the problems facing the housing industry is that many borrowers are unaware that such programs exist.
“MBA believes that housing counseling can play an important role in expanding homeownership opportunities,” says David Stevens, president and CEO of the MBA, in a statement. “We look forward to being part of the forums so that lenders and other stakeholders can work toward solutions in this area.”
“Homeownership is an investment in the future, but consumers sometimes need a little extra help on the path to get there,” adds Tom Salomone, president of NAR. “Homeownership counseling is available to help consumers meet those challenges head on, and the Homeownership Collaborative will make more people aware that these services are available to them.”
The Homeownership Collaborative will pull together industry stakeholders to host partnerships in local housing markets aimed at increasing homeownership opportunities by working with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved housing counseling agencies.
The group will try out ideas in four markets during the next year and explore a broader effort in the future, all with the goal of increasing housing counseling awareness.
The collaborative will help prospective home buyers who need more information and guidance about the home buying and mortgage process. It will also assist buyers who would like to access down payment assistance and other special programs. In addition, it will help buyers who have credit problems or other financial challenges to address.