What Is HUD-Approved Housing Counseling?
Some consumer agencies are approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program to provide housing counseling. But what does that mean to you? Here’s an overview of what HUD-Approved Housing Counseling means – and why it’s such an important distinction.
Q. What is a “HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency”?
A. 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).
Q. What are the responsibilities of a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency?
A. HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agencies are a community resource. Non-profits that serve as HUD Approved counseling agencies must make their services available to everyone in the community. 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.
Q. Are there professional standards for housing counselors?
A. 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.
Q. Do individual counselors need to be certified?
A. 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.
Q. What do HUD-certified housing counselors do?
A. 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
Not sure who to turn to? Call InCharge Debt Solutions to speak with a HUD-certified housing counselor who can help you determine the best course of action for your situation or visit our website. We’re here to help!