HUD to Close 16 Field Offices

June 18, 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it will be closing 16 field offices to cut costs. Some of the field offices that HUD will be closing fall in areas that are among the hardest hit by foreclosures, CNNMoney reports. Four of the field offices serve eight cities with the highest rate of foreclosures.  

Tampa, Fla., for example, has the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate, and is among the offices slated to close in the next four months. 

HUD field offices assist home owners struggling to make their mortgages as well as handle things like emergency placements for evicted people. Currently, HUD has 80 field offices across the country.

HUD officials say the majority of foreclosure cases are handled over the phone or online. Only about 10 percent of the people actually walk into the offices for assistance, according to HUD. But union officials say they are concerned the office closures are coming at a time when many home owners are still struggling with foreclosures. 

"Making a phone call is a lot harder than sitting down with someone and making some tough decisions on what you need," says Liz McDargh, a national president with the National Federation of Federal Employees.

The HUD changes are estimated to help save the agency between $51 million and $65 million. The closures are part of the forced federal budgets dubbed the “sequester.”  HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says that the agency does not plan to lay off any employees from the closures. 

Source: “Federal housing offices to close in worst foreclosure areas,” CNNMoney (June 18, 2013)

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