With Cuts in Housing Counseling Funds, It’s Wait and See

Laura Buxbaum, the director of housing resource and policy development at the Maine-based Costal Enterprises Inc. showed up at this year’s National Community Reinvestment Coalition conference to hear about what other organizations were doing in their respective communities. But the morning she got there, news broke that the FY2011 Continuing Resolution contained no funding for HUD Housing Counseling. A 100 percent cut of $88 million.

For Buxbaum, that changed the tenor of her attendance.

“We’re very upset that particular item got the axe in the Continuing Resolution and we’re worried about the future, obviously, considering the level of foreclosures we’ve seen and the amount of counseling we do.”

Here, Buxbaum addresses the changing political landscape, and how that can affect even small states like Maine, where, she says, organizations build strong relationships with their federal and state legislators, often regardless of political affiliation. According to Diane Scherman, (also featured in this video), Coastal’s foreclosure counselor, the organization could counsel as many as 900 individuals this year — a daunting figure considering the uncertainty when it comes to counseling funding. Of note here is Scherman’s brief respite of gallows humor before delving into the very real impact of losing funds.

Watch it:

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Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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