A report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found a 55 percent increase in the number of families receiving foreclosure prevention counseling between 2006 and 2007, with growth expected to be much higher in 2008.
HUD’s report, "The State of the Housing Counseling Industry," revealed that of the approximately 136,000 families that completed this counseling during 2007, 45 percent were able to remain in their homes while 14 percent ultimately lost their home through foreclosure. Outcomes for the remaining 41 percent of clients are not known.
The report also finds that in the years leading up to the current crisis, more than 55 percent of low-income families seeking to buy their first home did not seek out pre-purchase counseling. This lack of counseling likely left them unprepared to make one of the biggest financial commitments of their lives and may have contributed to some of today’s high rates of default and foreclosure.
Compared to the U.S. population as a whole, counseling clients are substantially more likely to be minority, the report found. Of the 1.7 million individuals that received counseling services from a HUD-approved agency in 2007, 54 percent were white, 36 percent were African-American and approximately 20 percent were Hispanic. Most clients that received counseling from a HUD-approved agency are very low- or low-income.
A breakdown of the services clients received in 2007 revealed 308,389 sought pre-purchase counseling; 264,989 sought help to resolve or prevent mortgage delinquency; 202,795 clients received mortgage refinance and reverse mortgage counseling; 380,006 persons received rental counseling; and 48,593 clients sought counseling on shelter or other homeless assistance programs
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