Our mission is to help our community’s families establish financial self-sufficiency through quality education and counseling in order for them to obtain housing stability, homeownership, and financial security. Through one-on-one counseling, classroom education, and fostering accountability, we succeed.
Families who are financially self-sufficient help create a more vital and thriving community and that is a benefit to all of us.
The Community Housing Resource Center has been serving our community for nearly twenty years through its comprehensive financial and homeownership education and counseling services because we know that building financial stability matters! Families who are financially self-sufficient—or fit—help create a more vital and thriving community. We address the tough issues of mortgage default, foreclosure and mortgage modifications. If a client seeks mediation, we help them prepare for the process and attend with them.
Being financially fit doesn’t mean rich! It means understanding what resources you have available to provide for you and your family and then knowing how to manage them for your benefit. Families and individuals who struggle with very little resources meet with our counselors to plan their roadmap to financial recovery. Each step they take from knowing their credit report and what that score says about them to settling a debt or making a payment is a milestone that we celebrate. Whether our clients seek homeownership or housing stability or access to better employment or lower interest or insurance rates, they know that as a non-profit, HUD certified housing/financial counseling agency, we are here to help them reach their goals.
Our certified financial counselors meet with our clients in classroom settings and one-on-one counseling. We address the issues that no one wants to talk about—mortgage default and foreclosure, poor credit management, too much debt, not being able to get credit—barriers to financial stability and a better life for them and their families.
Agency Background – Meeting the Need
The Community Housing Resource Center was the outcome of eighteen months of intensive research that was conducted by the Community Reinvestment Alliance (CRA) Working Group appointed by the city of Vancouver in 1993. Research revealed there was a wide array of home ownership assistance programs available for low/moderate income first time homebuyers but the knowledge of the availability was not widespread. The principal recommendation of this group was the formation of the Housing Center in 1995 to remove barriers to homeownership by facilitating the process through education and counseling. Soon after, the agency incorporated as a private non-profit 501(c)(3). For the past several years, it has received and retained its HUD certification that demonstrates CHRC continues to meet the national housing counseling standards.
The Climate Today
The economic downturn has had a devastating effect on our community as it has eroded the security and stability of our families and individuals throughout Clark County, Washington. Unemployment figures for Clark County (reported in April 2012) reached over 15%–the highest the county had experienced to date and among the highest in the state. A greater number of families with children, veterans returning from war, and households who had lost jobs and their homes had become the new faces of the homeless. These are the very families who once enjoyed a lifestyle that allowed them to contribute to the vitality and stability of the community through homeownership. Strapped with debt and with little knowledge of how to take charge in the process of rebuilding towards financial stability—the growing barrier that often prevents finding housing, obtaining insurance, or getting a job—they are turning to CHRC for assistance with debt management and the tools necessary to rebuilding credit and establishing a solid financial footing.
The Agency Today: Expanding programs to address growing needs
The Community Housing Resource Center continues to offer its comprehensive homebuyer/ownership classes and counseling but has expanded its programs, services and one-on-one counseling to meet the increased demands of its community in southwest Washington. It has developed public/private partnerships with the local city and county government administrations and social service agencies to bring their clients as well as the greater community, the high standards and best practices the agency has incorporated into administering its financial literacy and counseling program.
Whom do we serve?
The Community Housing Resource Center primarily serves—but is not limited to—individuals and families from Clark County and Southwest Washington and from Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties in Oregon who seek education and/or counseling for first time home-buying, financial counseling to repair and improve credit, mortgage default & foreclosure counseling, or HECM or reverse mortgage counseling. Clark County continues to trail other counties within the state who are beginning to see slow but somewhat steady growth in employment. Most clients of CHRC are of low to moderate income and seek our services to assist them in building towards a stronger financial future and housing stability. We have guidelines and procedures that protect the confidentiality of our clients and promote consumer information, the impartial nature of our services, and the mission and values of our organization. Only trained and certified staff provide the one-on-one counseling.
Orientations and classes are free.
We believe every individual who attends our classes or orientations to receive quality financial education and/or counseling for purposes of homeownership, making informed decisions about mortgage default/foreclosure options, credit repair or budgeting, has the right to receive it free, regardless of their ability to pay. For mortgage default/foreclosure counseling, the only fee is a small one for the credit report. For families whose income falls at or below 50% of HUD’S median income are not assessed a fee.
Pre-purchase, credit restoration, budgeting, debt management & financial assessment through unlimited one-on-one counseling for up to one year is $100.00 which includes the credit report. Again, families at or below 50% of HUD’s median income are not charged. Clients seeking Reverse Mortgage Counseling (HECM) are charged $125.00 which again includes the credit report.
Limited English Proficiency
CHRC has two full-time Spanish/English speaking housing and mortgage default/foreclosure counselors. This is more than adequate to serve Clark County’s large Hispanic/Latino population. Russian speaking clients may bring their own interpreters or CHRC seeks out translators from a community source. Other members of the staff have secondary language skills including Portuguese and Italian although their skill-set is rarely needed.
CHRC works with our community and beyond
In addition to our direct services, the Center’s staff is actively engaged in community partnering to promote financial stability and literacy through the statewide Asset Building Coalition, the Bank-On Initiative, and prison outreach opportunities for financial education. It actively partners with Second Step Housing, Vancouver Housing Authority, Salvation Army, PIC, Dress for Success, SHARE and other agencies to provide their clients with a skill-set that can lead them to an independence from private or government support and on to financial stability.