Congressman Larsen hopes to provide all the information you need to interact with Federal agencies regarding housing. If your question is not answered here, please contact his staff with your concern.
For qualified applicants, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers first-time home buyer loans and assistance in making needed home repairs. Additionally, if you are facing foreclosure, my office can refer you to local agencies specializing in foreclosure prevention.
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that Members of Congress and their staff have written authorization before they can obtain information about an individual's case. Therefore, a consent form may be completed before we proceed with your issue. You can download that form here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and what do they do?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, that improve and develop the Nation's communities, and enforce fair housing laws. Although HUD administers many programs, its major functions may be grouped into six categories:
- Insuring mortgages for single-family and multi-family dwellings, and extending loans for home improvement and for purchasing mobile homes
- Channeling funds from investors into the mortgage industry through the Government National Mortgage Association
- Making direct loans for construction or rehabilitation of housing projects for the elderly and handicapped
- Providing Federal housing subsidies for low and moderate-income families
- Providing grants to States and communities for community development activities; and
- Promoting and enforcing fair housing and equal housing opportunities.
Q: What are Section 8 Vouchers and how do I get one?
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers allow very low-income families and individuals to lease or purchase safe and affordable privately-owned housing. There are several different types of housing vouchers available depending on your circumstances:
The Conversion Voucher is aimed at helping families with relocation or replacement housing due to loss of public housing units. Conversion Vouchers also provide assistance to families living in Section 8 projects where the owner has chosen to opt out of their contract, HUD is taking action against the landlord with project-based assistance, or the owner is prepaying the mortgage.
Family Unification Vouchers are available to families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a key factor in the separation or possible separation of children from their families, or to help unite children with their families. Family Unification Vouchers permit families to lease or purchase decent, safe and sanitary housing that is affordable in the private housing market.
Homeownership Vouchers allow low-income families to purchase a home by providing financial aid for mortgage payments and other homeownership related expenses.
Project Based Vouchers are aimed at assisting property owners in rehabilitating or constructing housing units for low-income families.
Tenant Based Vouchers increase affordable housing choices for very low-income families. Families with a tenant-based voucher select and lease safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.
Vouchers for People with Disabilities are for elderly families and non-elderly families that include a person with disabilities.
In order to determine your eligibility to participate in one of these voucher programs please contact the Public Housing Authority in your city or town. To find this information please use this link http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/pha/contacts/states/wa.cfm
Q: Are there other housing programs that I might be eligible for?
Yes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a number of programs that you may find helpful. To learn more about these programs you can access the department's web site at http://www.hud.gov or contact your local HUD office:
Seattle Regional Office
Seattle Federal Office Building
909 First Avenue, Suite 200
Seattle, WA 98104-1000
Phone: (206) 220-5101
Toll-free: (877) 741-3281
Email: Customer Service
Fax: (206) 220-5108
TTY: (206) 220-5254
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday
Map to office
Spokane Field Office
US Dept of HUD
920 W. Riverside Ave, Suite 588
Spokane, WA 99201
Phone: (509) 368-3200
Email: Customer Service
Fax: (509) 368-3209
TTY: (509) 368-3220
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,
Monday through Friday
Map to office
Q: Where can I get housing counseling?
For advice on buying a home, renting, default, foreclosure avoidance, credit issues or reverse mortgages, HUD sponsors housing counseling agencies throughout Washington State to provide free or low cost advice. Search online for a housing counseling agency near you. You can also call HUD's interactive voice system at: (800) 569-4287.
Q: What can I do to avoid foreclosure?
Step 1: If you are in financial trouble, contact your lender as soon as possible. Do not wait for them to contact you. Often lenders will offer options to help those who are having problems making their mortgage payments.
Step 2: Keep good records. If you send a letter, keep a copy of the letter and delivery confirmation from the mail service. If you speak with someone on the phone, write down the representative’s name, time and date of phone call and explicit details from your conversation
Step 3: Explore your options and exhaust all resources.
- The Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) helps provide safe, decent and affordable housing to Washington State residents
- Washington State’s Foreclosure Mediation program was implemented in July 2011 and requires lenders to notify homeowners of their risk of foreclosure, giving them the opportunity to seek foreclosure counseling and potential mediation. This program offers Washington homeowners knowledge about federal programs, such as HARP, while providing them with financially responsible ways to terminate their mortgages. Complimentary to this program is the New Mortgage Assistance law which would increase the number or mortgage counselors in the state.
Foreclosure Mediation Program Contact: 1.877.894.HOME (4663)
- Internal Revenue Service: The IRS website has a page with questions and answers on home foreclosure and debt cancellation.
- Office of the Comptroller of Currency: This internet site reinforces the importance of fair and honest treatment for bank customers. The site is designed to provide answers and solutions for customers of national banks. It covers topics about national banks such as credit cards, checking accounts, overdraft fees, mortgages, and credit reports. This site also advises consumers on how to file a complaint if they are not satisfied with a resolution from a national bank. http://www.helpwithmybank.gov/
Q: Where can I get more information on housing resources?
Caseworkers in Congressman Larsen’s Office are also happy to assist you in understanding the various programs offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Public Housing Assistance agencies in Washington State. You can contact them here.
The Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have set up this website for the 7-9 million homeowners who may be able to benefit from the Obama Administration's "Making Home Affordable" program. Need urgent help? Contact the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline: 888-995-HOPE (4673).
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The HUD website has a page with links to various resources including housing counseling agencies, the Michigan State Attorney General, free legal aid.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
The Federal Housing Administration provides mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. Their website hosts information on various federal assistance programs.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The Federal Trade Commission website offers comprehensive consumer information on a wide variety of topics. Visit the FTC's Mortgages / Real Estate page for various helpful publications and facts for consumers about homes and real estate. The FTC's Real Estate Marketplace Glossary: How to Talk the Talk [PDF] provides definitions of terms often used in the real estate industry.
The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
Congress enacted the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) in 1975, which requires lending institutions to report public loan data. This website provides information about the regulation and its interpretation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Program
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has compiled this webpage with housing information for veterans.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) set up this website to help customers of national banks find answers to questions on several topics including mortgages and home equity products.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established by Congress under the Dodd -Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 in order to protect consumers. The CFPB will soon open their Consumer Response Center as a one-stop for consumers to direct their complaints regarding financial institutions. In the meantime, the CFPB has a Complaint Assistant on their website to provide you with information on what agency to best handle your concerns.