Housing Counselors are an integral part of our economic and housing recovery. The current economic environment has created an even greater need for housing counselors than ever before. Trained, certified, experienced counselors have been assisting families around the nation with education and direct one on one counseling on financial management, goal planning, credit counseling, homeownership, rental preparedness, and foreclosure prevention. HUD-approved housing counselors do not charge for most of these services and have other free or low cost resources that they can refer families to, as needed, for additional help.
Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed assisting people in doing what is best for them. When I was in the mortgage industry, I would seek out special programs that would assist families with down payment and closing cost assistance and renovation funding. I would also work to ensure that homebuyers were getting the best possible loan they could get with the best possible rates and terms and appropriate loan types that would allow them to obtain affordable, sustainable housing. I explained the responsibilities of homeownership and the advantages and disadvantages of owning your own home.
As a housing counselor, I provide comprehensive, face-to-face counseling, which means that I assist families in clarifying their goals, assist them in creating an accurate picture of their financial situation, and help them to develop a plan to reach their goal. When a family is facing foreclosure, they are often in a crisis because of a recent loss of their income, usually due to a job loss or medical issue. They need someone knowledgeable to listen to them, help them to assess their current situation, look at what options are available to them, and then assist them in pursing what is in their best interest.
Every day I work with families who are in a crisis due to a pending foreclosure. I am constantly educating myself as to the most recent changes in special programs so that I can provide the best objective, unbiased information to assist my clients in resolving their housing problem and achieve the best possible outcome. I also work with lending institutions so that my clients and others in the community have an opportunity to meet with their lenders face-to-face at bi-monthly foreclosure prevention workshops to try to work towards a resolution.
This job can be challenging because I have to assist clients through a very long and often complicated process. However, I like a challenge and I especially feel rewarded when a homeowner is able to resolve their crisis. My position at the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation has offered me the opportunity to directly counsel individuals and families on some of the biggest decisions of their lives when planning for their future as parents, homeowners, consumers and citizens. I continue to educate families in my region on homeownership and foreclosure prevention and encourage them to seek one on one individualized counseling to help them with their rental, home purchase or home retention needs.
I am grateful that as a housing counselor, I work for the Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation (VBCDC), a private 501(c)3 private non-profit corporation. The organization has been in existence for 26 years and continually strives to meet the housing needs of low-moderate income persons and persons with special needs. In addition to providing a regional housing counseling program as a HUD-approved housing counseling agency the organization also owns, manages, and maintains over 358 units of affordable rental housing for low-income families, develops new permanent affordable housing, provides transitional housing with support services to homeless families and individuals, and operates a homeownership program for low-moderate income first-time homebuyers.
As a counselor at VBCDC, I am here to guide, educate, and help my community grow into a diversified, sustainable and vibrant reflection of the people who choose to call this area home. I will keep working with individuals so that together we can build strong communities, one family and one dwelling at a time.
Dotty Acampora is the Housing Counselor for Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation, a non-profit housing and service organization and HUD Approved Counseling Agency.