January 28, 2019 — Brunswick, ME – Coastal Enterprises (CEI) announced today that its entire housing counseling staff is now individually certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The requirement for HUD certifications is directed by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The act states that any counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs must be provided only by HUD certified housing counselors. The act required all practitioners to successfully complete the comprehensive examination by August 1, 2020.
CEI has been operating as a HUD-certified housing counseling agency in good standing since 1996, and has extensive knowledge in first-time homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, foreclosure mitigation assistance, reverse mortgage counseling, student loan debt counseling, and financial health and wellness.
“We’re really pleased to have a staff as experienced and tenured as we do here at CEI, which is a bit of an anomaly in the housing counseling profession,” said Jason Thomas, Director of Housing Counseling and Education at CEI. “We see the certification as a way to let clients know our level of expertise. The industry needs consistency in what clients can expect, and this is one way to achieve that. It’s also a great chance for our subject matter experts to gain the visibility that other similar roles already enjoy. We find ourselves wearing numerous hats and working with clients in conjunction with real estate professionals, attorneys and social service workers and, at times, we need to have significant knowledge covering all of these crossover relationships in order to protect the homeowner or home buyer.”
An example of CEI’s counseling support came when the Chadbourne family’s home mortgage increased by $900 in one month due to an oversight in the mortgage agreement. They needed to modify their mortgage quickly but their application was rejected as incomplete numerous times by the large bank that financed their mortgage. Nearly ready to give up, they sought advice from CEI’s Housing Counseling team. Their housing counselor worked closely with them over several years to help them save their home.
“Our counselor worked tirelessly with us through the entire experience,” Mr. Chadbourne explained. When foreclosure paperwork appeared and a court date loomed just six days away, the bank finally accepted their modification request for an affordable monthly payment. “I’m certain that had it not been for the efforts of CEI we would have tumbled into the street,” he said.
Coastal Enterprises (CEI) integrates financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions to increase good jobs, advance environmentally sustainable enterprises, and grow more broadly shared prosperity in Maine and other rural regions. CEI is committed to building an economy that works for everyone.
As a mission-driven investor, CEI works closely with individuals and businesses to address operational, workforce, and environmental challenges, focusing particularly on key natural resource-based industries that can contribute to an inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy. In addition to comprehensive business advice, CEI staff members provide housing counseling and financial training for individuals and families in Maine, recognizing that building assets and managing debt, as well as a good job, are key ingredients for family financial security.
Learn more at www.ceimaine.org.