The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Housing Counseling recently announced the launch of a new tool that allows organizations to determine if they meet the basic requirements to apply to become a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency.
The Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool is meant to be helpful for understanding eligibility, whether an agency applies directly to HUD or if they choose to affiliate with a HUD-approved intermediary or Housing Finance Agency (HFA).
This new tool comprises 26 questions and helps organizations understand if they are a good candidate for HUD approval using basic criteria. If an organization does not meet the basic criteria, it will receive a list of steps to complete to meet the basic criteria.
“This tool does not replace a formal review by HUD, however organizations are strongly encouraged to complete the tool before starting their HUD application, Form HUD 9900,” HUD stated in a press release. “Successful organizations will receive directions on how to apply directly to HUD at the end of the tool.”
Organizations interested in becoming HUD-approved to provide counseling services, per HUD guidelines, must be either a private or public nonprofit organization, or a state or local government.
These organizations may apply as any of the following: a Local Housing Counseling Agency, an Intermediary (regional or national), a multi-state organization, or as a state HFA.
The launch of the new tool arrives a month after HUD issued a final rule that will require housing counselors to pass a standardized written examination if they wish to provide housing counseling services to consumers under HUD programs. This guidance includes Home Equity Conversion Mortgage counselors.
HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling plans to publish the actual certification test in spring 2017.
For more information about the tool, supplemental materials, and access to the tool itself, visit the Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool page on the HUD Exchange.
Written by Jason Oliva