The Housing Opportunity Program Grants, a National Association of Realtors grant program, has presented $62,500 to 19 local and state Realtor associations. Those associations will use the funds to promote and expand affordable housing opportunities in their communities.

“Realtors work hard to help raise awareness and identify and promote solutions that address affordable housing opportunities,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “Without affordable housing opportunities, communities across the country suffer. The Realtor associations awarded these grants recognize that and are making a tremendous effort to educate both Realtors and consumers on the importance of affordable housing.”

NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program Grants program was established in 2006. Individual grants of up to $5,000 are awarded twice per year, in April and October. Since the program’s inception, more than 170 grants totaling over $600,000 have been awarded.

The grants support a wide range of housing initiatives, including housing symposia; home buyer education or housing fairs; counseling and financial literacy efforts; down payment or closing cost financial assistance programs; public opinion surveys; and Realtor affordable housing education. To be considered, programs should support the Housing Opportunity Program’s mission of positioning Realtors as leaders in creating housing opportunities.

The following Realtor associations received Housing Opportunity Program Grants in this round:

Charlotte Regional Realtor Association (Charlotte, N.C.):$5,000 to support the development of a formalized Housing Advisory Council to promote affordable workforce housing advocacy and education.

Contra Costa Association of Realtors (Walnut Creek, Calif.):$3,000 toward a community outreach event that will provide resources on topics such as purchasing real estate-owned properties, completing short sales, relocating, moving-up/down and more.

Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors (North Franklin, Conn.):$2,000 to help create “how-to” videos for home buyers, which will be placed on the association’s website.

Gulf Coast Association of Realtors (Gulfport, Miss.):$3,000 toward an awareness campaign to inform Realtors of a retrofit program that provides grants to homeowners to strengthen their property against natural disasters.

Hawaii Association of Realtors (Honolulu, Hawaii):$3,000 for a public event that will include workshops on various home buying topics taught by Realtors and industry partners.

Lawrence Board of Realtors (Lawrence, Kan.):$5,000 to support a local public awareness campaign specific to housing opportunities in two counties served by the association.

Maryland Association of Realtors (Annapolis, Md.):$3,000 to conduct a training and networking event for key stakeholders to present the issues, benefits, and concerns about establishing employer-assisted housing programs.

Metro Tex Association of Realtors (Dallas, Texas):$3,000 to hold a workshop for Realtors®, public officials, and affordable housing organizations to examine negative attitudes surrounding affordable housing and develop strategies to combat those attitudes.

Nevada Association of Realtors (Reno, Nev.):$5,000 to support an employer-assisted housing forum to bring together Realtors, business owners, community leaders and others to identify ways to use EAH to strengthen the housing sector.

Northwest Montana Association of Realtors (Kalispell, Mont.):$4,000 for multiple activities to educate the public and promote homeownership, including printed materials for consumers, participation in a home and garden show, workshops, and more.

Pinellas Realtor Organization (Clearwater, Fla.):$2,500 to support a program in partnership with other organizations to match vacant apartments with families in need and to provide the families with financial assistance for security and utility deposits.

Portage County Association of Realtors (Ravenna, Ohio):$2,500 toward a collaborative effort to restore a fire-damaged, abandoned home to provide housing for homeless, female veterans.

Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.):$2,500 to hold a housing symposium to educate Realtors and prospective home buyers about affordable housing programs and opportunities.

Richmond Association of Realtors (Richmond, Va.):$2,500 to conduct a workshop, “Revitalization, Reinvention and Return on Investment,” which will explore the local region’s current revitalization efforts and plans.

Rogue Valley Association of Realtors (Medford, Ore.):$2,500 to support participation in a community event to benefit the Oregon Association of Realtors HOME Foundation.

San Diego Association of Realtors (San Diego, Calif.):$3,000 to support involvement in a free, mobile workshop designed to assist distressed homeowners; and $2,000 to conduct home buyer education seminars throughout the city.

Staten Island Board of Realtors (Staten Island, N.Y.):$2,000 to help sponsor a housing fair for first-time buyers to educate them on issues related to the purchase of their first home.

Tacoma-Pierce County Association of Realtors (Tacoma, Wash.):$2,000 toward a foreclosure prevention workshop that will be open to the public, providing access to local housing counselors.

The Greater Waterbury Board of Realtors (Waterbury, Conn.):$5,000 to form a politically neutral initiative to review the demographics of the city and study the issues of blight, tax liens, and brownfields to find ways to redevelop the properties into affordable housing units.