Housing Counseling Grant Program

National Credit Union Foundation Earns $710,296 Grant from HUD

homeownership loan closingAs potential first-time homebuyers struggle to enter a tight mortgage market, the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has earned a $710,296 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support homeownership counseling for consumers with low incomes.

NCUF will use its grant money to underwrite costs of counseling programs provided by 22 not-for-profit credit unions. Together, these credit unions will leverage their NCUF grants into nearly $6 million to support low-income counseling and affordable homeownership.

Through September 2008, these 22 credit unions plan to reach nearly 10,000 potential first-time homebuyers, including 6,525 who earn less than 80% of their area median income.

“Especially after the collapse in the sub-prime housing market,” said NCUF Deputy Director Steve Bosack, “this grant is a vote of confidence in credit unions’ ability to not only help low-income consumers buy their first homes, but also to help low-income homebuyers keep their first homes.”

HUD funds flowing through NCUF will help expand credit union counseling services from pre-purchase to post-occupancy. Bosack reported that counseling has proven successful in helping credit union members buy their first homes, avoid predatory mortgages, and prevent defaults.

This marks the fifth straight year that NCUF has been approved for a HUD grant.

“Our foundation has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours of technical assistance to help credit unions make the most of their HUD grants,” Bosack related. “As a result, participating credit unions have counseled nearly 28,000 aspiring homebuyers over the past four years.”

This year’s grant will provide HUD funding for 17 credit unions, and allow five more to continue as HUD-certified sub-agencies with internal funding.

HUD-Funded Counseling Programs

  • 1st Choice Credit Union, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Ithaca, New York
  • Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Brooklyn, New York
  • Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Syracuse, New York
  • El Paso Affordable Housing Credit Union Service Organization (owned by eight credit unions in El Paso, Texas)
  • LA DOTD Federal Credit Union, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • North Side Community Federal Credit Union, Chicago, Illinois;
  • Opportunities Federal Credit Union, Burlington, Vermont
  • OUR Federal Credit Union, Eugene, Oregon
  • Smart Money Community Services (with Cincinnati Central Credit Union in Ohio)

Self-Funded Counseling Programs

  • ASI Federal Credit Union, Harahan, Louisiana
  • Border Federal Credit Union, Del Rio, Texas
  • Center for Financial Health (a non-profit organization formed by Option 1 Credit Union, Grand Rapids, Michigan)
  • SOFCU Community Credit Union, Grants Pass, Oregon
  • South Side Community Federal Credit Union, Chicago, Illinois

NCUF: 5 Years Attracting HUD Grants for Credit Unions

In 2002, the National Credit Union Foundation became a HUD-approved national housing counseling intermediary. As an intermediary, NCUF became eligible to apply for grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) housing counseling program.

NCUF received its first HUD grant in Fiscal Year 2003 (FY03) and has received one every year since then. NCUF sub-grants the money from HUD to credit unions to provide housing counseling for low-income first-time homebuyers.

In FY03, NCUF received two grants from HUD; one for the Section 8 program and one for comprehensive counseling for a total of $426,000

In FY04, NCUF received a $654,309 grant and in FY05, $701,300.

For FY06, NCUF received its largest amount: $1,000,373.

Each year NCUF recruits one-to-two dozen sub-grantees into the HUD program. HUD awards the grants around October of each year.

The program requires sub-grantees to counsel the target population in group workshops and one-on-one counseling. Workshops require at least 8 hours of homebuyer education.

NCUF and each sub-grantee set goals for "HUD clients" to be served through workshops and one-on-one counseling. To qualify as HUD clients, counseling participants must earn 80% or less of their area median income.

Clients are tracked through Fannie Mae’s Home Counseling Online electronic client management tool, which allows housing counselors to monitor each client's progress toward homeownership.

Sub-grantees may use HUD funds to provide counseling to non-credit union members as well as members. Click here to read the National Credit Union Administration's Legal Opinion Letter authorizing NCUF's HUD sub-grantees to reach non-members.

The following sub-grantees participated in NCUF’s HUD Housing Counseling Program during the first four years:
  1. Alternatives Federal Credit Union – Ithaca NY - FY04, FY05, FY06
  2. Arrowhead Central Credit Union - San Bernardino CA - FY06
  3. ASI Federal Credit Union - Harahan LA - FY06
  4. Bethex Federal Credit Union – Bronx NY - FY04
  5. Border Federal Credit Union – Del Rio TX - FY03, FY04, FY05
  6. Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union - Brooklyn NY - FY06
  7. CU Home Center – Lake Oswego OR – FY03
  8. CU Housing Partnership, LLC – Tampa FL - FY03, FY04, FY05
  9. Cincinnati Central CU/Smart Money Community Services – Cincinnati OH - FY04, FY05
  10. District Government Employees Federal Credit Union - Washington DC - FY06
  11. El Paso AH CUSO – El Paso TX - FY03, FY04, FY05, FY06
  12. Faith Community United Credit Union – Cleveland OH – FY03
  13. Financial Health Credit Union - East Lansing MI - FY05, FY06
  14. Harbor One Federal Credit Union – Brockton MA – FY03
  15. 1st Choice Credit Union – Atlanta GA - FY04, FY05
  16. LA DOT Federal Credit Union – Denham Springs LA – FY05, FY06
  17. Mazuma Credit Union – Kansas City MO - FY03, FY04
  18. Memphis Area Teachers’ Credit Union - Memphis TN - FY06
  19. Minority Support Center – Durham NC – FY03, FY04
  20. Opportunities Community Credit Union – Burlington VT – FY03, FY04, FY05
  21. North Side Community Federal Credit Union - Chicago IL - FY06
  22. O.U.R. Federal Credit Union – Eugene OR – FY04, FY05, FY06
  23. Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union - West Lafayette IN - FY06
  24. Security 1st Federal Credit Union – McAllen TX – FY04, FY05, FY06
  25. SOFCU Community Credit Union - Grants Pass OR - FY06
  26. South Side Community Federal Credit Union – FY04, FY05, FY06
  27. Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union – FY05, FY06
  28. Water and Power Community Credit Union – Los Angeles CA – FY03

  29. WCTA Federal Credit Union – Sodus NY – FY04, FY05