Housing Counseling Helps Recipients Find Homes
- What is the value of housing counseling?
- Abt Associates assessed counselee demographics and purchase rates.
- A diverse group of participants benefited from the services.
At the time of this study, Congress had just eliminated U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding for housing counseling. This raised the question of whether the federal government ought to support such counseling, and whether Federal Housing Administration government-sponsored enterprise mortgage products should include counseling requirements. A study on the efficacy of such programs could help guide this policy discussion.
Abt’s study team used HUD’s intake information – collected by Abt for a previous HUD project – on a diverse sample of 573 study participants. This included data on clients’ financial, credit, and demographic characteristics, as well as services received over a 6-month period, and select outcomes approximately 18 months after the start of counseling.
The findings of the Pre-Purchase Counseling Outcome Study suggest that counseling helped a relatively diverse group of low- to middle-income individuals. Participants obtained useful information about how to search for, finance and assess their readiness to purchase a home. Credit report data obtained through the study suggested that about 35 percent of study participants purchased housing within 18 months of receiving counseling services – higher than the 27 percent of counselees who bought homes in a 2003 study.