The Importance of Housing Counseling

September 8, 2017 Edward Seiler, Ph.D.

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At Summit, in addition to serving our federal and commercial clients, we strive to serve society. One way we achieve this is by improving programs that promote socio-economic goals, such as community development and fair lending analytics. I have a personal interest—dating back to the financial crisis—in housing counseling for mortgagors.

During the crisis, my team built the net present value model for the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program. After implementation, I developed strategies to minimize re-default on modified loans, and was lucky enough to work on post-modification counseling. I continue to research this area, and published a paper earlier this year that assesses trends in counseling needs.

I am thus delighted that Summit Partner Anthony Curcio is moderating a panel on “The Evolving Need for Housing Counseling” on September 27 at the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference in Washington, DC.

The panel consists of three distinguished experts—Lot Diaz (VP, Housing and Community Development at Unidos), Sarah Gerecke (Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing Counseling at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), and Gene Spencer (Senior Vice President at the Homeownership Preservation Foundation).

I recently asked Gene, as a long time professional in institutional mortgage capital markets, what drew him to counseling. He responded: “…seeing the terrible impact of the housing crisis on families and individuals drove me to want to do something to help them recover and make the system better than it was before.

“When I heard about the focus of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, and how I could help, it felt like the right thing to do," he added.

However, there are many aspects of housing counseling that also keep Gene up at night. “The challenge of ensuring its availability for those who would benefit from it… funding is the key issue and gaining support from major stakeholders in the housing finance industry," he noted.

Come join the conversation. I look forward to seeing you there.

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