Inaugural members hail from mortgage, real estate, consumer and counseling sectors
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia, 6/16 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week named 12 persons who will constitute the first-ever Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC). Among the notable names representing the mortgage, real estate, consumer, and Housing Counseling sectors is Habitat for Humanity-MidOhio President & CEO E. J. Thomas.
Mr. Thomas has served in this position for more than 10 years and is responsible for the oversight and operation of one of the nation’s top-50 Habitat affiliates in terms of the number of homes constructed, which reached 22 houses in 2012. In Fiscal Year 2015, 20 to 22 new homes will be built, with a dozen critical repair projects completed. As of last year, he oversaw a transition that resulted in the blending of both Habitat Licking County and Habitat Madison County in to the central Ohio service area, which required the name change from “Greater Columbus” to the current, Habitat for Humanity Mid-Ohio.”
Mr. Thomas is the immediate past chairman of the State Support Organization of Habitat for Humanity Ohio, an organization that assists 65 other affiliates in the State by way of Statehouse advocacy efforts, and individualized training of affiliate staff in best practices, grant writing, and infrastructure acquisition. Mr. Thomas served 8 terms as State Representative for the 27th District in north Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Thomas served as Chairman of both the Ways & Means and Finance and Appropriations Committees. Mr. Thomas currently serves as trustee on the Board of Capital University, Vice Chairman of the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County.
Established under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, this advisory panel will help HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling improve upon all the efforts to provide consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed and lasting housing decisions.
Last April, HUD solicited nominations to serve on the first-ever federal advisory committee. Those selected hail from among mortgage, real estate, consumer and housing counseling sectors. The Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee will explore new opportunities to expand access to HUD housing counseling programs, develop new innovative strategies to support community-based counseling agencies, and identify methods to leverage our resources to amplify the impact of federally funded housing counseling. This panel will also develop new metrics to evaluate the health and capacity of the housing counseling industry, specifically in the context of disaster recovery and identify ways to improve the use of technology in housing counseling. For a complete list of committee members, please visit the HUD website at www.HUD.gov.
By teaching consumers basic principles of housing and money management, HUD’s network of approximately 2,000 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies help families to improve their financial situation, address their current housing needs, and pursue their housing and financial goals over time. Housing counselors increase awareness of both rights and responsibilities of homeownership and rental tenancy, addressing fundamental concepts such as anti-discrimination laws, the types of ownership and tenancy, budgeting, affordability calculations, maintenance and upkeep responsibilities, eviction and homelessness prevention, and where to get help when future housing challenges arise. Housing counselors provide support to households facing unemployment, finding and maintaining housing after returning from military deployment, or moving their families because their current housing situation is unsustainable.