WASHINGTON, DC - NeighborWorks America, the nation's largest provider of training to the community development industry today announced that it received a $3 million grant from Wells Fargo. The grant supports a range of NeighborWorks America training initiatives designed to strengthen the ability of non-profit community development professionals to help thousands of consumers understand the complex homeownership environment, and where necessary, potential options that can help consumers avoid foreclosure.
Wells Fargo's grant to NeighborWorks America supports training and scholarships for homeownership educators and housing counselors delivered through NeighborWorks Training Institutes; local place-based training opportunities around the U.S., and increasingly through NeighborWorks led e-learning courses. The grant period runs from October 1, 2011 through March 31, 2013.
"This grant from Wells Fargo is important to our ability to provide the latest information and training to housing counselors and other community development professionals," said Eileen Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America. "Importantly, this grant from Wells Fargo underlines its commitment to narrowing the gap for access to quality homeownership education, training and counseling."
"Financial challenges are building for housing counseling services at a time when consumer demand for their help is growing," said Kimberly Jackson, executive director of the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation. "Wells Fargo believes homeownership education and counseling training and scholarships provided by NeighborWorks are critical to helping Americans as they face financial struggles that extend beyond their home payments and the country continues to work through the impacts of a challenging economy."
Using its various delivery methods to reach housing counseling practitioners, NeighborWorks America awards more than 12,000 training certificates awarded each year in homeownership and community lending, and the demand for skilled professionals in homeownership education and counseling is not expected to decline.
The demand for the segment of training and education that equips housing counselors with the knowledge to help homeowners battle foreclosure is especially anticipated to grow with more than two million households forecast to face foreclosure in the next year.
Providing consumers with the right tools to understand the shifting home buying landscape also is important. Nonprofit organizations are on the front lines of efforts to help low- and moderate-income homebuyers obtain mortgages that help to foster long-term, sustainable homeownership, a building block of strong communities.
"Wells Fargo's support to train counselors in homeownership programs comes at a time when many are wondering if homeownership is the right thing to pursue," explained Fitzgerald. "While homeownership is not right for everyone at every point in their lives, having the right information about risks, rewards and responsibilities from trained housing counselors will help families make the right homeownership decision for themselves."
NeighborWorks(R) America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation's leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals.