USU awarded funding to provide housing counseling

Published: Wednesday, May 28 2014 5:25 p.m. MDT

LOGAN — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $15,632 to Utah State University to offer affordable financial and housing counseling to the community.

The funding was part of a $40 million federal grant being distributed across hundreds of organizations nationwide "to help families and individuals with their housing needs and to prevent future foreclosures," according to a news release from the department.

The Family Life Center of USU's Family, Consumer, and Human Development Department is a non-profit agency that offers monthly workshops and one-on-one counseling on topics like budgeting, credit, debt elimination, identity theft, reverse mortgage and mortgage default.

Organizations like the center help current and prospective homeowners "realistically evaluate their readiness for a home purchase, understand their financing and down payment options, and navigate what can be an extremely confusing and difficult process," according to the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Lucas Martin, the center's director and statewide family finance specialist for USU Extension, says the funds help keep counseling affordable for individuals and families who may be struggling financially.

"The grant money allows us to serve more clients; it allows us to keep the costs low for those clients," Martin said. "Most of them are here because they're having financial issues. They don't have a lot of money to begin with. So this is part of how we meet that need."

A two-hour one-on-one counseling session on financial management starts at $15. Prices of other types of counseling vary by subject.

Since 2004, the center has conducted more than 500 workshops attended by almost 9,000 people, according to Martin.

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

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