United Way Housing Alliance receives largest grant ever—see why that matters

This article originally appeared in partnership with Bham Now.

United Way of Central Alabama Housing Alliance receives largest grant ever

The United Way Housing Alliance, which is a program of the United Way of Central Alabama, has received their largest award ever from Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

13,000 Households in need of assistance

United Way

Totaling $532,651 for FY 21, the United Way Housing Alliance distributes the grant to a network of nine HUD-approved Housing Counseling agencies across the Southeast serving nearly 13,000 individuals and families in need of housing assistance. 

Within the United Way of Central Alabama six county footprint (Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, Chilton, Walker, and St. Clair) —1,267 households were served between 2020-21.

Based on the belief that safe, stable, affordable housing is a basic human right, the United Way Housing Alliance is on a mission to increase the organized capacity of our Housing Counseling agencies to improve housing access and stability in their communities.

“Housing is the most basic need for a person’s survival. It’s the baseline of ‘getting by’ and our counselors focus on how to maintain and prevent people from losing that basic need. A lot of what we do is financial literacy, which plays a part in every aspect of someone’s day and can determine whether or not they’re safe and stably housed.”

Kayce Swift, Housing Alliance Director.

United Way’s Housing Alliance member agencies assist low to moderate-income individuals and families achieve their housing goals through group workshops and individualized, one-on-one housing counseling focused on:

  • financial capability and budget management
  • mortgage delinquency and default counseling
  • pre-purchase workshops
  • individualized homeownership counseling
  • rental and tenancy information
  • fair housing guidance
  • reverse mortgage (HECM) counseling
  • homeless prevention support
  • predatory lending education
  • foreclosure prevention options

United Way Housing Workshops

United Way

Why does all this matter? For example, attendance at a pre-purchase home workshop is often required by a lender before a potential new homeowner can receive a mortgage. A housing counselor helps people understand the process of purchasing a home and makes sure they’re not falling into any predatory loan scams.

“Our counselors and workshops will help them determine if buying a home is the right move for them if they’re currently renting,” added Swift. “They will let them see what their mortgage payment will likely looks like.”

The UW Housing Alliance also helps people find alternative housing if they need to catch up on their rent by connecting renters with resources in their area and financial assistance to help them get back on their feet. This has become an invaluable service since the COVID-19 pandemic and eviction moratorium.

At the start of 2022, the UW Housing Alliance is expecting an even larger award, and will add two new agencies to its housing network. Locally, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama is joining the group.

“We believe in the right to access affordable safe housing for all. We’re working to make that happen,” concluded Swift.

United Way Housing

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about the United Way Housing Alliance network, please contact hud@uwca.org. Please visit our website here: https://www.uwca.org/housingalliance/.