A press conference Oct. 16 at GreenPath Financial Wellness revealed a substantial grant to the nonprofit.

A press conference Oct. 16 at GreenPath Financial Wellness revealed a substantial grant to the nonprofit.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Farmington Hills company puts HUD dollars to work with home-buying education

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published October 29, 2018

 Joseph P. Galvan, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Midwest regional administrator, speaks during a press conference and check presentation event at GreenPath Financial Wellness.

Joseph P. Galvan, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Midwest regional administrator, speaks during a press conference and check presentation event at GreenPath Financial Wellness.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 Galvan presents Kristen Holt, president and CEO of GreenPath Financial Wellness, with a check.

Galvan presents Kristen Holt, president and CEO of GreenPath Financial Wellness, with a check.

Photo by Deb Jacques

FARMINGTON HILLS — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently awarded a credit counseling service in Farmington Hills over $2.3 million.

The nonprofit GreenPath Financial Wellness was awarded just over $2.34 million Oct. 16 at its office, 36500 Corporate Drive.

GreenPath will use the funds to help counsel and educate others on how to build credit, buy a house, switch from renting to owning, and more.

GreenPath’s world headquarters is in Farmington Hills, and the nonprofit helps people with credit counseling and debt counseling over the phone and in person, according to its website, www.greenpath.com.

HUD awarded funding for housing counseling grants to help people make more informed housing choices or keep their current homes, according to a press release.

Kristen Holt, president and chief executive officer of GreenPath Financial Wellness, was presented with a check that day.

She said in a follow-up interview that it was “wonderful” to receive the grant, which GreenPath applied for and does so annually. The nonprofit received a similar amount of funds last year.

“We very much appreciate HUD’s support, and they’ve been supporting us for years, and we need their support very much to service the people we serve every year,” she said.

The grant will help more than 67,000 households in Michigan find housing, make more informed housing choices or keep their current homes, according to the release.

“HUD-approved housing counselors are on the front lines, guiding people through their first home purchase and the ups and downs of homeownership,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a press release. “Their efforts give families a real opportunity to realize their dream of owning a home is obtainable by offering advice on affordable rental housing, home financing and tools to prevent foreclosure.”

Holt said that if anyone calls the company, they will be helped.

“If they are facing trouble with their mortgage or if they are really interested in buying a home, or moving from renting to buying a home — very holistic counseling that we do that HUD dollars support our work,” she said.

Some topics that people are educated on also include how to save for a down payment.

“Or what are some things that they need to be thinking about?” she said, adding that GreenPath counseling is provided free of charge. “Because HUD supports that work. All over the country, we provide services ... but our primary services are in Michigan … including the Upper Peninsula.”

She said it’s a seller’s market, and credit markets are still tight.

“So if people don’t have the best credit score, we can work with them and give them tips on how to raise their credit scores to qualify for good financing,” she said.

Holt said in the press release that people often define the American dream as having a home of their own.

“This grant enhances our ability to advise people who are navigating the complex systems around homeownership, and we are extremely grateful for HUD’s support,” said Holt. “Our housing counselors review the financial concerns around spending plans, debt payments, saving and planning for the future, and we provide tools and techniques to guide people to achieve their dreams.”

“This funding will be a tremendous resource as we work diligently to help families in Michigan attain and retain the American dream,” said HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Joseph P. Galvan. “Homeownership is the primary way that families begin to build wealth in America. This endeavor will help increase the Michigan homeownership rate that is currently 72.9 percent.”

According to the press release, national and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that assist low- and moderate-income families to improve their housing conditions.

The release states that counseling improves housing outcomes for homebuyers, homeowners and renters.

According to HUD’s fiscal year 2018 Housing Counseling Grant Awards, nine other organizations in Michigan were awarded, totaling nearly $3.25 million.

Holt said that when it comes to home buying, it is based on the needs of the individual and every situation is different, but some issues are all too common.

“I think there are issues in this area where there is not a lot of housing available; it is hard to find a house that matches your needs that you are able to afford that you can be the winning bidder on,” she said. “I hear all the time about houses being up for sale and selling very quickly and selling above asking.”

For more information on finding a HUD-approved housing counseling agency, call (800) 569-4287 or go to www.hud.gov.