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The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) and the Housing Partnership Network (HPN) today announced a joint response to the crisis gripping America’s renters by establishing an unprecedented collaboration between credit counselors and nonprofit rental property owners supported by cutting edge technology.

Renter Advantage enables credit counselors and nonprofit rental property owners to work directly with renters to preserve their housing status and stabilize their financial situation in communities across the U.S. Renter Advantage streamlines service delivery for credit counselors to provide renters with trusted guidance including enrolling renters in need of assistance in plans to address sustainable rent repayment, debt management, and improving long-term financial health.

This collaboration is supported through a generous $4.4 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation to develop and pilot an innovative approach to stabilize renters struggling with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The support provided by Wells Fargo allows our new and powerful partnership to develop a scalable and sustainable program to address the growing rental crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” said NFCC President and CEO Rebecca Steele. “Together with HPN, we will marshal the resources of our service provider networks to create a pathway toward stability for struggling renters and multifamily property owners. The new approaches we develop can serve as a model for wide-scale responses to the coronavirus crisis that can be replicated to help renters and rental properties across the country.”

Beyond the initial February 2021 program launch, the goal of HPN-NFCC Renter Advantage is to create and deploy a set of new, sustainable strategies to assist renters and multifamily owners that can be replicated in markets across the country. The program will also offer help for multifamily property owners adversely impacted by the financial setbacks of their tenants and will be available in English and Spanish, with translation services available for additional languages.

“While there are – and have been – systems in place to aid homeowners, delivering counseling to renters at scale has not been done before,” notes HPN’s COO, Chuck Wehrwein, “Our mission-aligned network of multifamily owners are well-positioned to pilot this program. Wells Fargo’s strategic investment and our collaboration with NFCC hold the promise to shape systems that will have long-term, impactful change.”

This $4.4 million grant is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s efforts to keep more than 200,000 people affected by COVID-19 housed with grants to nonprofit housing organizations across the U.S. Overall, the Wells Fargo Foundation has donated over $225 million to assist people and communities affected by COVID-19.

“The economic fallout from COVID-19 is causing housing instability for far too many renters, including people of color disproportionately affected by this crisis,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “While renters continue to struggle with keeping up with payments and the complex patchwork of moratoria, we realize multi-family property owners are also in need of resources to keep people housed. As part of our comprehensive efforts to help people stay in their homes, we believe this innovative initiative by NFCC, HPN and their community-based members will have a meaningful impact in directly assisting people to stabilize their housing situation and improve their financial health.”

The Wells Fargo Foundation has committed $1 billion in philanthropy by 2025 to address housing affordability solutions across the U.S. The Wells Fargo Foundation philanthropic strategy focused on creating housing affordability solutions, small business support, and financial health in collaboration with national and local organizations.

Services related to emergency rental and housing counseling are now available. Anyone needing assistance can call 844-865-2463 or visit nfcc.org to connect with an NFCC Member Agency.

About the NFCC

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) is the nation’s first and largest nonprofit dedicated to improving people’s financial well-being. With a national network of member offices serving 50 states and Puerto Rico, our NFCC® Certified Credit Counselors are financial advocates, empowering millions of consumers to take charge of their finances through one-on-one financial reviews that address credit card debt, student loans, housing decisions and overall money management. Make one of the best financial decisions of your life. For expert guidance and advice, call (800) 388-2227 or visit www.nfcc.org today.

About HPN Housing Partnership Network

(HPN) is an award-winning business collaborative of 100 of the nation’s leading affordable housing and community development nonprofits as well as an Aeris-rated CDFI and HUD-approved housing counseling intermediary. Since our founding in 1992, HPN has collectively served almost 12 million people; developed, rehabilitated, or preserved over 400,000 affordable homes; and launched 14 successful social enterprises. Our work has been recognized with honors including the MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions and Wells Fargo NEXT Award for Opportunity Finance. Learn more at www.housingpartnership.net.