Privacy Policy

PROGRAM DISCLOSURE FORM AND STATEMENT

(Privacy Statement to follow as Addendum A)

Note: If you have an impairment, disability, language barrier, or otherwise require an alternative means of completing this form or accessing information about housing counseling, please talk to your housing counselor about arranging alternative accommodations.

About Us and Program Purpose: Hometown Community Development Corporation, DBA HomeStrong USA (“HomeStrong”) is a nonprofit, HUD-approved comprehensive housing counseling agency. We provide free education workshops and a full spectrum of housing counseling including, without limitation, pre-purchase and foreclosure prevention counseling. We serve all clients regardless of income, race, color, religion/creed, sex, national origin, age, family status, disability, or sexual orientation/gender identity. We administer our programs in conformity with local, state and federal anti-discrimination laws, including the federal Fair Housing Act (42 USC 3600, et seq.). As a housing counseling program participant, please affirm your roles and responsibilities along with the following disclosures.

Client and Counselor Roles and Responsibilities:

Counselor’s Roles and Responsibilities

Client’s Roles and Responsibilities

  • Reviewing your housing goals and your finances; which include your income, debts, assets and credit history.
  • Preparing a Client Action Plan that lists the steps that you and your counselor will take in order to achieve your housing goal.
  • Preparing a household budget that will help you manage your debt, expenses and savings.
  • Your counselor is not responsible for achieving your housing goal, but will provide guidance and education in support of your goal.
  • Neither you counselor nor HomeStrong employees, agents, officers, or members may provide legal advice.
  • Completing the steps assigned to you in your Client Action Plan.
  • Providing accurate information about your income, debts, expenses, credit and employment.
  • Attending meetings, returning calls, providing requested paperwork in a timely manner.
  • Notifying HomeStrong or your counselor when changing housing goal.
  • Attending educational workshop(s) (i.e. pre-purchase counseling workshop) is recommended.
  • Retaining an attorney if seeking legal advice and/or representation in matters such as foreclosure or bankruptcy protection.

Termination of Services: Failure to work cooperatively with your housing counselor and/or HomeStrong will result in the discontinuation of counseling services.

Agency Conduct: No HomeStrong employee, officer, member, contractor, volunteer, or agent shall undertake any action that might result in, or create the appearance of, administering counseling operations for personal or private gain, provide preferential treatment for any person or organization, or engage in conduct that will compromise our agency’s compliance with federal regulations and our commitment to serving the best interests of our clients.

Agency Relationships: HomeStrong has professional affiliation with HUD; HomeStrong Realty, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary; HomeStrong USA Fund 1, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, HomeStrong USA Fund 2, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, HomeStrong USA Capital, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, and HomeStorng USA Transitional Housing, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, HSRAA, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, HHTP1, a HomeStrong wholly-owned subsidiary, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Citi, Freddie Mac, and Housing Opportunities Collaborative. As a housing counseling program participant. Our industry partners include lenders, real estate agents, landlords, and other individuals or entities in connection with the modification of your loan, sale or purchase of your real property, refinance transactions or in connection with your relocation from your residence.  Some of our industry partners are affiliated with former employees of HomeStrong.  You are never obligated to use the products or services of HomeStrong, its affiliates or our industry partners.

Alternative Services, Programs and Products & Client Freedom of Choice: HomeStrong may refer you to lenders, real estate agents, landlords, or other third parties in connection with the sale or refinance of your real property or in connection with your relocation from your residence. However, you are not obligated to participate in this or other HomeStrong programs and services while you are receiving housing counseling from our agency. You may consider seeking alternative products or services from entities including the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) for first-time homebuyer loan programs, and the California Housing Finance Agency or the National Homebuyers Fund for other first-time homebuyer programs. You are entitled to choose whatever real estate professionals, lenders and lending products that best meet your needs.

Referrals and Community Resources: You will be provided a community resource list which outlines the county and regional services available to meet a variety of needs, including utilities assistance, emergency shelter, transitional housing, food banks and legal aid assistance. This list also identifies alternative agencies that provide services, programs, or products identical to those offered by HomeStrong and its exclusive partners and affiliates.

Privacy Policy: I/we acknowledge that I/we received a copy of HomeStrong’s Privacy Policy, attached hereto as Exhibit “A.”

Errors and Omissions and Disclaimer of Liability: I/we agree HomeStrong, its employees, agents and members are not liable for any claims and causes of action arising from errors or omissions by such parties, or related to my participation in HomeStrong counseling; and I hereby release and waive all claims and causes of action against HomeStrong and its affiliates. I have read this document, understand that I have given up substantial rights by signing it, and have signed it freely and without any inducement or assurance of any nature and intend it to be a complete and unconditional release of all liability to the greatest extent allowed by law. If any provision of this document is unenforceable, it shall be modified to the extent necessary to make the provision valid and binding, and the remainder of this document shall remain enforceable to the full extent allowed by law.

Quality Assurance: In order to assess client satisfaction and in compliance with grant funding requirements, HomeStrong, or one of its partners, may contact you during or after the completion of your housing counseling service. You may be requested to complete a survey asking you to evaluate your client experience. Your survey data may be confidentially shared with HomeStrong grantors such as HUD.

EXHIBIT A – PRIVACY POLICY

HomeStrong USA, LLC (“HomeStrong”) is committed to assuring the privacy of individuals and/or families who have contacted us for assistance. We realize that the concerns you bring to us are highly personal in nature. We assure you that all personal information shared orally and/or in writing will be managed within ethical and legal considerations. Additionally, we want you to understand how we use the personal information we collect about you. Please carefully review this notice as it describes our policy regarding the collection and disclosure of your nonpublic, personal information.

What is nonpublic, personal information?

  • Information that identifies an individual personally and is not otherwise publicly available information, such as your Social Security Number and demographic data such as your race and ethnicity
  • Includes personal financial information such as credit history, income, employment history, financial assets, bank account information and financial debts

What personal information does HomeStrong collect about you?

We collect personal information about you from the following sources:

  • Information that you provide on applications, forms, email, or verbally
  • Information about your transactions with us, our affiliates, or others
  • Information we receive from your creditors or employment references
  • Credit Reports

What categories of information do we disclose and to whom?

We may disclose the following personal information to financial service providers (such as companies providing home mortgages), Federal, State and nonprofit partners for program review, monitoring, auditing, research, and/or oversight purposes, and/or any other pre-authorized individual and/or organization. The types of information we disclose are as follows:

  • Information you provide on applications/forms or other forms of communication. This information may include your name, address, Social Security Number, employer, occupation, account numbers, assets, expenses and income.
  • Information about your transactions with us, our affiliates, or others; such as your account balance, monthly payment, payment history and method of payment.
  • Information we receive from a consumer credit reporting agency; such as your credit bureau reports, your credit and payment history, your credit scores, and/or your creditworthiness.
  • We do not sell or rent your personal information to any outside entity.
  • We may share anonymous, aggregated case file information, but this information may not be disclosed in a manner that would personally identify you in any way. This is done in order to evaluate our program, gather valuable research information, and/or design future programs.
  • We may also disclose personal information about you to third parties as permitted by law.

How is your personal information secured?

We restrict access to your nonpublic personal information to HomeStrong employees who need to know that information in order to perform their housing counseling duties. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with federal regulations to guard your nonpublic personal information, and we train our staff to safeguard client information and prevent unauthorized access, disclosure, or use.

Opting Out of Certain Disclosures

You may direct HomeStrong to not disclose your nonpublic personal information to third parties (other than disclosures made to project partners and those permitted by law). However, if you choose to opt out, we will not be able to answer any questions from your creditors, which may limit HomeStrong’s ability to provide services such as foreclosure prevention counseling. If you choose to opt out, please sign below under the “Opt-Out” clause. If you choose to release your information as stipulated in this Privacy Policy, sign under the “Release” clause. You may change your decision any time by contacting our agency.

OPT-OUT: To request that HomeStrong make no disclosure of your nonpublic personal information to third parties other than project partners and those permitted by law please notify us by email via admin@homestrongusa.org or calling (877) 647-8764.  By choosing this option, you understand that HomeStrong will NOT be able to answer any questions from my creditors. I understand that I may change my decision any time by contacting HomeStrong.

RELEASE: By utilizing this website I hereby authorize HomeStrong to release nonpublic personal information it obtains about me to my creditors and any third parties necessary to provide me with the services I request. I acknowledge that I have read and understand the above privacy practices and disclosures.