Written by Brian Sullivan, (202) 708-0685
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today named 12 persons who will constitute the first-ever Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC). Established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, this advisory panel will help HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling improve upon all the efforts to provide consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed and lasting housing decisions.
Last April, HUD solicited nominations to serve on the first-ever federal advisory committee. Those selected hail from among mortgage, real estate, consumer and housing counseling sectors. They include:
|1. Pamela Marron||New Port Richey, Florida|
|2. Linda Ayres||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|3. José Larry Garcia||El Paso, Texas|
|Real Estate Sector|
|4. E.J. Thomas||New Albany, Ohio|
|5. Cassie Hicks||Hattiesburg, Mississippi|
|6. Alejandro Becerra||Silver Springs, Maryland|
|7. Afreen Alam||Long Island, New York|
|8. Meg Burns||Arlington, Virginia|
|9. Ellie Pepper||New York State, Schenectady, New York|
|Housing Counseling Sector|
|10. Judy Hunter||Sacramento, California|
|11. Arthur Zeman||Saint Louis, Missouri|
|12. Terri Redmond||Hummelstown, Pennsylvania|
The Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee will explore new opportunities to expand access to HUD housing counseling programs, develop new innovative strategies to support community-based counseling agencies, and identify methods to leverage our resources to amplify the impact of federally funded housing counseling. This panel will also develop new metrics to evaluate the health and capacity of the housing counseling industry, specifically in the context of disaster recovery and identify ways to improve the use of technology in housing counseling.
By teaching consumers basic principles of housing and money management, HUD’s network of approximately 2,000 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies help families to improve their financial situation, address their current housing needs, and pursue their housing and financial goals over time. Housing counselors increase awareness of both rights and responsibilities of homeownership and rental tenancy, addressing fundamental concepts such as anti-discrimination laws, the types of ownership and tenancy, budgeting, affordability calculations, maintenance and upkeep responsibilities, eviction and homelessness prevention, and where to get help when future housing challenges arise. Housing counselors provide support to households facing unemployment, finding and maintaining housing after returning from military deployment, or moving their families because their current housing situation is unsustainable.
There are many ways to find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Visit HUD’s website or call 1-800-569-4287 for our interactive telephone directory. Get the free housing counseling i-phone app from the app store (not yet available for android). Watch HUD’s video on how housing counseling can help families find (and keep) housing.