The purpose of this assistance is to continue investing in the creation and maintenance of a professional and effective housing counseling industry that is able to meaningfully assist consumers by providing them with the information they need to make informed housing choices and maximizes the impact
of Federal funding appropriated for HUD’s Housing Counseling Program.
Statutory requirements enacted in 2010 state that individual housing counselors participating in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program shall demonstrate, by written examination, that they are competent in providing counseling in each of the core topics.
HUD published the Final Rule for Housing Counseling Certification December 14, 201 6. This rule implements statutory requirements that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs must be provided by HUD certified agencies and HUD certified housing counselors.
HUD recognizes six (6) Core Topics in which housing counselors need to be competent.
Financial Management; Property Maintenance; Homeownership and Tenancy; Fair Housing and other Civil Rights Laws and Requirements; Housing Affordability; Avoidance of, and responses to, rental and mortgage delinquency and avoidance of eviction and mortgage default.
HUD also acknowledges the need for more housing counselors trained in HECM default counseling.
According to HUD’s Annual Report to Congress on the FHA Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund for FY2017, the HECM portfolio has been a substantial economic drain on the MMI Fund.
The Annual Report to Congress for FY2018 noted the Capital Ratio for the HECM portfolio is negative 1 8. 83 percent, a further decline from the restated negative 1 8. 30 percent for FY 201 7. HUD recognizes the important role housing counselors can provide in helping to mitigate HECM defaults and foreclosures and decrease losses to the MMI Fund.
This assistance will expand the number of agencies and counselors who can provide default counseling for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) borrowers.
Current HUD priorities also center on Disaster Preparation and Recovery.
Housing counseling agencies (HCA's) are in a unique position to help their communities prepare for and recover from a disaster.
They can help their clients prepare for disasters by integrating preparedness into their counseling and education activities.
Post-disaster, they can use their knowledge of local resources and programs to help clients navigate the complexities of disaster recovery resources and programs.
This NOFA supports courses that provide training in the areas of disaster preparation and recovery.
HUD recognizes that counselors may specialize in specific housing counseling topics, and that counselors will need more than general housing counseling training in order to provide high quality services that include general and specialized housing counseling topics.
This NOFA provides notice of a grant program that supports the provision of both basic housing counseling training and specialized topics of training including training in the core topics for housing counselor certification, HECM default counseling and disaster preparation and recovery to help meet these perceived needs.
This financial support will assist housing counseling agencies to increase the use of partnerships with local and state-wide organizations to provide additional place-based training on state and local issues.
In addition, this support should result in an increased number of training scholarships.