St. Paul, Minn (April 14, 2011) – Federal funding for Minnesota’s housing counseling services was eliminated in last weekend’s federal budget negotiations. The cuts are set to take effect on October 1, 2011.
The cuts will impact Minnesota’s network of more than 50 nonprofit and local government agencies that offer free counseling to prevent foreclosures, support first-time homebuyer education and protect mortgage counseling services.
Hmong American Partnership is a member of this network and is the only Hmong agency that provides housing counseling services to our community. HAP employs a full time bilingual Hmong Housing Counselor to help community members with their particular housing needs.
The funding, provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been pivotal to offering free counseling services, particularly since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007. Housing leaders continue to assess the impacts of these cuts on their ability to provide services.
“These counseling services are vital to the preservation of community wealth and well being,” said Sheng Lee, Director of Housing and Economic Development at HAP. “Although Minnesota’s housing market is on the road to recovery, our community members continue to be in need of services, especially services that are culturally competent and offered in their own languages.
“These funding cuts will severely hamper the availability of resources to help underserved homeowners get back on their feet,” she added.
Since the start of the foreclosure crisis, Minnesota counselors have helped prevent more than 30,000 foreclosures across the state. In 2010 Minnesota experienced nearly 26,000 foreclosures – only a little less than the 2008 peak. According to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, each foreclosure costs taxpayers $78,000 when accounting for the total cost in lost property value, policing foreclosed properties and other local government expenses.
Contact Sheng Lee at 651-495-1582 or [email protected]
Hmong American Partnership is a social service and community development organization whose mission is: to empower the community to embrace the strengths of our cultures while achieving our potential. HAP was established in 1990 to address the needs of Minnesota’s growing Hmong population. Since its inception, HAP has expanded to serve community members from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic groups. HAP provides critical services and support to more than 4,000 refugees, immigrants, and low-income mainstream community members annually through five program departments: Education & Training; Employment Services; Health, Wellness & Elderly Services; Housing & Economic Development; and Youth & Family Services. HAP is also a HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency.