CARECEN’s Housing Counseling Program seeks to secure safe and affordable housing for Latinos in the Washington metropolitan area. CARECEN offers individual counseling and educational workshops on topics such as foreclosure prevention, credit and financial management, and tenant rights, as well as technical assistance to tenant groups and associations. Through these programs, CARECEN informs tenants and homeowners of their rights and equips community members with the financial literacy tools to make well-informed decisions, particularly in relation to their housing needs.
The main goals of the housing program at CARECEN are: improved living conditions for low and medium income Latino families, improved access to affordable housing, and increased homeownership and asset creation among low and moderate income Latinos.
CARECEN provides technical assistance to buildings where tenants face complex housing and health code violations or are presented with the opportunity to purchase their building. CARECEN assists tenants in organizing and incorporating as tenant associations in order to effectively address housing issues. Tenants thus build a collective voice and are able to better access financial and legal resources, negotiate repairs, and stop evictions or abusive practices by landlords. They also develop leadership skills by facilitating meetings, contacting inspectors and other city officials, and advocating for themselves before different stakeholders.
Tenant Education and Assistance
Tenants are informed of their rights and responsibilities as renters through individual counseling and regular meetings with existing or newly formed tenant associations. Tenants learn how to communicate with landlords to ask for repairs and respond to notices associated with renting. In some cases tenants are referred to pro-bono attorneys in order to resolve tenant-landlord disputes through legal channels. Our housing program also offers a variety of workshops on topics such as building and repairing credit, budgeting, and financial planning.
CARECEN acts as a liaison between city agencies and tenants. CARECEN assists tenants in solving housing and health code violations while preventing displacement and abuse. Tenants become familiar with housing laws and regulations and learn how to take advantage of existing laws or advocate for changes in current policies. In many instances, CARECEN facilitates testimonies by tenants before the City Council, DC Courts, and other officials.
Promoting Homeownership AND ASSET CREATION
Traditionally, CARECEN housing staff has provided first-time homebuyer counseling and assisted clients with the home purchasing process, including credit and financial planning and homeownership guidelines. CARECEN has also assisted tenant associations through the building acquisition, rehabilitation and conversion process from rental property to affordable condos. Please visit the economic development page for more details. Our program also works to preserve existing homeownership through education and assistance to prevent foreclosure.
Foreclosure Prevention Counseling
CARECEN helps homeowners to prevent losing their homes to foreclosure. Housing counselors assess mortgage debt, map recovery plans, help clients improve their financial management skills, negotiate with servicers, and counsel clients on their options. Counselors also help homeowners to become aware with the warning signs of loan modification fraud and help them take appropriate action if they have already been victims of scams.
For more information on our clients, please visit Who We Serve.
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