As part of the Obama Administration’s continuing effort to provide quality housing counseling to the nation’s homeowners, buyers and renters; the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has announced the availability of more than $5.1 million in grants for housing counseling training. HUD’s goal is to fund eligible organizations to deliver training in the full spectrum of counseling services. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan made the announcement while meeting with borrowers and homeowners receiving counseling at an event in Oakland, Calif. “Every day, our HUD-approved counseling organizations help families to make more informed choices about buying or renting,” said Secretary Donovan. “Right now, these counseling programs are critical in helping thousands of families avoid foreclosure and remain in their homes. That’s why we’ve increased the funding for housing counseling by 36 percent in this year’s HUD budget.” HUD-approved counseling agencies provide homeownership counseling, as well as financial literacy education to renters and homeless individuals and families. This year, HUD’s Housing Counseling Grant program is providing approximately $79 million for comprehensive counseling, Reverse Mortgage Counseling, and supplemental funding for Mortgage Modification and Mortgage Scam Assistance. There is also a heightened focus on providing services in languages other than English. The counseling training funds announced today are available to provide training activities designed to improve and standardize the quality of counseling provided by HUD-approved housing counseling agencies, multi-state organizations, and state housing finance agencies. The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) provides funding details and requirements. Applicants must be public or non-profit organizations that have tax exempt status under section 501(a) and have at least two years of national experience providing the majority of types of housing counseling training services. They must propose to provide training nationwide. The training program must contain both basic and advanced courses, and include topics such as general counseling, credit and financial literacy, matching clients with loan products, homebuyer education, avoiding delinquency and predatory lending, foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgages, rental housing, and mortgage fraud counseling. Instructions are posted on Grants.gov. Applications must be submitted electronically through http://www.grants.gov and must be received by Grants.gov no later than 11:59:59 p.m. eastern time on Oct. 29, 2010. If applicants have difficulty accessing the information, they may obtain assistance by calling the help desk hotline at (800) 518-GRANTS or by e-mailing [email protected]. The Grants.gov help desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, except federal holidays. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.