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HUD Housing Grants Can Help You Stay in your Home

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, better known as HUD, was founded in 1965. As part of President Johnson’s “Great Society” plan, its purpose is to carry out government housing programs and help maintain and revitalize urban areas. If you’re worried about housing, now you can rest assured: HUD has options to help keep your family safe and sheltered. Five popular options are described below.

1. One popular option is through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which is a division of HUD. FHA provides mortgage insurance on home loans and other residence loans made by FHA-approved lenders. Mortgage insurance can protect 97% of your home ownership even if you default on payments. FHA has helped thousands of customers avoid housing crises. However, borrowers must meet standard FHA credit requirements.

2. If you’re already having difficulty and are afraid of losing your home, check out the HOPE for Homeowners program. The HOPE program refinances mortgages at lower rates through HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Lenders are required to refinance the home at a maximum of 90% of its appraised rate, and the new mortgage payment must be under 32 percent of the borrower's income. Homeowners must agree to share any equity that accumulates in their home over a new 30-year fixed mortgage.

Who qualifies for the HOPE program? A basic qualification is proof of steady employment and income, but applicants must also be able to show that they cannot afford their current payments. Also, the mortgage must have originated on or before January 1, 2008. Applicants who own a second home will be denied. This program will be offered until September 30, 2011.

3. Elderly or disabled homeowners and renters can benefit from HUD’s Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program. HUD service coordinators work as case managers for elderly residents and those who are frail or specially challenged. Case managers can help residents obtain federal funds to remain in their own comfortable homes and avoid moving to nursing homes and other institutions. HUD funding pays for home visits from caregivers. It can help people stay in your homes by reducing their expenses for medical care and therapy.

4. If you are losing your home and need a new, safe shelter, HUD can assist you with housing vouchers. Formerly known as Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher program helps individuals and families afford housing on the private market. This means that a coupon can be applied toward monthly rent with a variety of properties, not just the public housing market. Assistance with the Housing Choice Voucher program can be obtained from local housing offices.

5. Could your home or neighborhood use a facelift? HUD offers a variety of grants to assist with home improvement and block-by-block revitalization. One example is HUD’s 203(k) program, which gives loans for home improvements to people with satisfactory credit. Improvements can even be as extensive as expanding a single-family home into a four-family home. As for improving entire neighborhoods, an exciting program is the Community Development Block Grant Program. The program pays for neighborhood projects such as school improvement, removal of graffiti, and construction of sidewalks.

For more information about any of the above programs, talk with your current lender, visit the Housing and Urban Development website, or call the Federal Housing Administration.