The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced it will devote more than $40 million in funding to a variety of housing counseling and related programs.

HUD has struggled to find the funds needed to support these programs, increasing the financial strain on various housing counseling organizations at a time when many can benefit from their assistance. These funds will support activities such as helping consumers improve their credit scores and rent housing, or find rental units.

"We fought hard to persuade Congress to restore funding for housing counseling in HUD’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget and I’m pleased that they did so," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "We will now work to make these important resources available to help families as quickly as possible."

The grants are distributed to various counseling agencies and State Housing Finance Agencies, and may help low- and moderate-income families find housing or improve their current housing conditions. Among the programs supported by HUD are various affordable housing and rental assistance initiatives that help consumers meet their financial obligations while improving living conditions. Subject to tenant screening, there is also special assistance for those with disabilities.