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CDFI Fund Awards $4.15 Million to Organizations Through the FY 2010 Financial Education Counseling Pilot Program
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Four Organizations to Receive Grants for Financial Education and Counseling Programs

October 22, 2010

Washington, DC–The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced today the four award recipients of the fiscal year 2010 (FY 2010) round of the Financial Education and Counseling Pilot Program (FEC Pilot Program).

The awardees, serving low- and moderate-income communities in Florida, Hawaii, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, all share the common goal of increasing the financial knowledge and decision-making capabilities of prospective homebuyers in order to improve their financial stability and to effectively prepare for and sustain homeownership. The FEC Pilot Program awards grants to eligible organizations that provide innovative financial education and counseling services to prospective first-time homebuyers.

“I am very proud to announce the recipients of the second award round of the FEC Pilot Program,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “Time and time again we have seen how vital financial education and counseling is to all facets of community development, and it is especially important when assisting people with the important step of buying a home for the first time. The organizations receiving these awards will now be better able to provide these services in communities across the country.”

The Department of the Treasury's Office of Financial Education and Financial Access collaborated with the CDFI Fund to implement the program and to select the awardees. “Financial literacy and counseling activities will empower prospective homebuyers to be better prepared for homeownership and make sound financial decisions,” said Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael S. Barr. “The FEC Pilot Program addresses one of the core causes of the foreclosure crisis. Too many homebuyers were steered into mortgage products that they could not afford or understand. The pilot is intended to ensure that working families have the financial knowledge to effectively prepare for and evaluate housing choices.”

The FEC Pilot Program was appropriated $4.15 million by Congress for FY 2010, $3.15 million of which was designated for an eligible organization in the state of Hawaii.

The ultimate purposes of the FEC Pilot Program are to identify effective training methods for promoting financial empowerment and producing positive behavioral changes and to develop successful program models for delivering financial education and counseling services to prospective homebuyers.

The FEC Pilot Program was appropriated $4.15 million by Congress for FY 2010, $3.15 million of which was designated for an eligible organization in the state of Hawaii.

Profiles of Awardees

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
Honolulu, HI
Award: $3.15 Million
Contact: Lilia Kapuniai, (808) 596-8155

Based in Honolulu, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) was founded in 2001 to enhance the well-being of Hawaii through the cultural, economic and community development of Native Hawaiians and low-income populations throughout the state. A CDFI Fund-certified CDFI and a HUD-certified Housing Counseling Agency, CNHA will use its FY 2010 FEC Pilot Program award to fund the newly developed Hawaii Family Finance Project (HFFP). Designed to serve low income families wherever they live in Hawaii, HFFP unites capable partner organizations with the common goal of reaching low- to moderate-income prospective homebuyers. Through financial education counseling and group training and individual development accounts, HFFP will educate prospective homebuyers and assist with developing financial stability and saving for both short and long term goals. The project is estimated to serve over 3,000 individuals over the course of its 3-year program term.

Greater Erie Community Action Committee
Erie, PA
Award: $400,000
Contact: Stephanie Long, (814) 459-4581 x 595

The Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC) was established to reduce poverty in Erie County, Pennsylvania. GECAC will use their FY 2010 FEC Pilot Program award to create a financial education and counseling program to provide potential homebuyers the financial tools that they need to successfully transition from renting to homeownership. The program combines traditional financial education elements, such as group education, intensive one-on-one counseling, and match savings accounts, with a hard-and-fast time table for completion—an innovative approach that can be easily replicated by other providers.

Homewise, Inc.
Sante Fe, NM
Award: $400,000
Contact: Elizabeth C. Derringer, (505) 955-7020

The mission of Homewise is to help working New Mexicans become successful homeowners in order to achieve financial security, strengthen families and increase the economic and social vitality of our communities. Homewise is a full-service agency promoting homeownership through financial education and consultation, home selection and financing services, and post-purchase support. The Homewise business model is to make financial education and counseling serve as the entry point to the entire home purchase process. These services include: one-on-one financial counseling, homebuyer education classes, classes designed to combat financial problems, and classes designed to encourage good savings habits. Through this model, Homewise has helped 2,100 low- and moderate-income New Mexicans to become first-time homeowners. Homewise will use its FY 2010 FEC Pilot Program award to pilot an expansion of its successful business model at three sites across the country.

Solita's House, Inc.
Tampa, FL
Award: $200,000
Contact: Aidza Antonio, (813) 425-4847 x 301

Solita's House, Inc. (SHI) is a non-profit organization in Tampa, Florida, dedicated to providing free financial education and credit counseling services to low- and moderate-income individuals and families that seek to become homebuyers. SHI's current financial education and counseling program includes homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, financial literacy, credit counseling, post-purchase counseling and foreclosure prevention. SHI will use their FY 2010 FEC Pilot Program award to expand their program with the addition of new services, educational workshops, matched savings, and a new education and counseling module called the “Learn It $ Practice It $$ Grow It $$$ Program.”

About the CDFI Fund

Since its creation in 1994, the CDFI Fund has awarded almost $1.2 billion to CDFIs, community development organizations and financial institutions through CDFI Program, the Bank Enterprise Award Program, and the Native Initiatives. In addition, the CDFI Fund has allocated $26 billion in tax credit authority to Community Development Entities through the New Markets Tax Credit Program.

For more information about the CDFI Fund and its programs, visit http://www.cdfifund.gov.

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