The Makings of a Valued Housing Counselor

It is a privilege to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change. Giving back to the community in which I work and live has been incredibly rewarding; to be recognized for doing something that I love makes this award even better. 

I stumbled upon the Northeast Denver Housing Center over ten years ago after being laid off from a mortgage banking position, which I held for over thirteen years. I have to be honest, I had never heard of the Northeast Denver Housing Center, a non-profit organization that’s now been around for 29 years, or the services that they offered. But I took a chance, interviewed and was hired and have been a faithful employee ever since. Even after being promoted to Program Director, I continue to provide counseling services to homebuyers, homeowners, renters and others in need of housing assistance. I could not imagine not being involved with counseling or not helping the people in my community.

What does a housing counselor do? We provide services to individuals and families to help them better meet their housing needs. Thanks to our generous funders, including HUD, our organization never charges a fee for the services they provide. I help clients overcome their credit difficulties; I educate them in a workshop or one-on-one setting, so that they can successfully buy a house; and I will work with their lenders to help them avoid foreclosure. I also educate and counsel senior citizens on various reverse mortgage products and I participate in community fairs and events. 

A housing counselor can be a valued friend and advisor for life; I actually have clients who are still in contact with me years after our initial meeting.  Sometimes they call to ask a question or refer a friend, sometimes just to say hello. These relationships make what I do priceless.  

I am so glad that housing counselors are getting the recognition for the work they perform; it’s been a long time coming. Thanks to our wonderful government for providing programs such as: Making Home Affordable, the Emergency Home Loan Program and the Neighborhood Stabilization Act that have helped many homeowners remain in their homes, as well as help stabilize hard hit neighborhoods.

If you’d like to learn more about my organization, please visit our website: www.nedenverhousing.org.

Helen Taylor serves as the Program Director and Comprehensive Housing Counselor for the Northeast Denver Housing Center.

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