||Frequently Asked Questions about HUD Approved Housing Counseling
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Approved Housing Counseling Agencies are compliant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that promotes objective, professional counseling for prospective homebuyers, renters, and existing homeowners (particularly those facing the risk of foreclosure).
- Yes. Every year HUD issues a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for local housing counseling agencies and national intermediaries. As a national intermediary, the Federation applies each year for HUD funding and allocates sub-grant funding to credit unions and non-profit affiliates in our network of HUD approved housing counseling agencies.
- HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies are a community resource. Credit unions and affiliated non-profits that serve as HUD Approved counseling agencies must make their services available to everyone in the community, regardless of a client’s membership status or affiliation with the credit union. They are also listed on HUD’s Housing Counseling website, along with contact information, so the public can access them from anywhere in the country. Counseling services also must be strictly separated from the lending functions of the credit union, and counselors are obligated to help clients compare the best available mortgage loan options from competing lenders. For a more complete description of the responsibilities of HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies, click here for the first chapter of the Federation’s Policies and Procedures Manual.
- Yes. The Federation has endorsed the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling and the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling – Foreclosure Specialty. For more information, including links to formally adopt or endorse these standards, please click here.
- Yes. Comprehensive housing counseling includes a full range of technical specialties such as pre-purchase, rental assistance, foreclosure intervention, reverse mortgages, homeless assistance, and more. The Federation’s network offers comprehensive housing counseling services, but not every individual housing counselor is certified to provide every specialized service. Counselors must successfully complete rigorous certification courses and meet continuing certification requirements in order to provide services through a HUD approved agency.
- There are a number of regional and national training organizations that offer certification courses for specific housing counseling specialties. The largest single provider of certification courses for all specialities is NeighborWorks® America. A complete training calendar is available by clicking here.
- Counselors generally follow seven steps for individual clients:
- Interview the client confidentially to learn basic information about the client and her or his housing need or problem.
- Identify resources (within the counseling agency, the client's community, or HUD) that might help meet the need or resolve the problem.
- Design a counseling plan for the client.
- Explain the plan to the client and obtains the client's consent for the counselor to carry out the plan, including the actions the client must take.
- Refer the client to other resources within the community and assist the client in making appointments.
- Recommend additional private or group counseling sessions conducted by the agency or other community resources.
- Monitor the client's progress toward meeting the need or resolving the problem.
- No. HUD grants typically pay approximately 33% of the cost of running a housing counseling program. Grant recipients are expected to use matching funding to cover the rest of the cost of the activity. Matching funds can come from other local grants, reasonable fees (according to HUD guidelines), and organizational resources.
- A complete directory of the Federation’s credit union counseling agencies is available by clicking here.
- If your credit union is interested in becoming a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, there are two options:
· Approval through a National Intermediary: As a HUD Approved National Housing Counseling Intermediary, the Federation can directly approve counseling agencies that fulfill the program requirements, without the need for an application to HUD. Our responsibility is to make sure that credit unions are fully compliant with HUD requirements prior to conferring approval as a HUD Housing Counseling Agency. The basic operational requirements are the same whether you receive approval directly from HUD or through the Federation, but the application and documentation process is much easier. To learn more about joining the Federation's national credit union network of HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies, click here.
We are not interested in becoming a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, but we would like to have more information to share with our members -- where can we go?
The Federation's Credit Union Clearinghouse web page has useful information for helping your members get the professional housing counseling services they need before at every stage of the homebuying and homeownership process, particularly if they are facing financial challenges that put them at risk of foreclosure. To go to the Federation clearinghouse, click here.
- In March 2002, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) as a national intermediary for HUD’s Single Family Housing Counseling program. As an approved national intermediary, NCUF became eligible to apply for funding from the program and launched the national credit union housing counseling program with their first grant in October 1, 2003. From 2003 through September 2008, NCUF served as the national intermediary for this program, and the Federation served as a technical assistance provider to NCUF. In 2007 the Federation and NCUF agreed to transition the national intermediary role to the Federation, which became HUD Approved as a national intermediary in February 2008 and assumed full responsibility for the program on October 1, 2008.