Can the PJ use HOME funds to pay for required homebuyer counseling?

Date Published: November 2013

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While the HOME statute prohibits PJs from using HOME funds to administer a homebuyer counseling program, costs related to counseling a HOME-assisted homebuyer may be charged as eligible project-related soft costs in accordance with §92.206(d)(6), or administrative costs in accordance with §92.207(b). Housing counseling expenses may only be charged as project-related soft costs if the counseled homebuyer ultimately receives HOME assistance, and the cost of housing counseling when added to the amount of HOME assistance does not exceed the HOME maximum per-unit subsidy limit. When housing counseling is provided to a homebuyer that ultimately is not assisted with HOME funds, the cost of counseling must be charged as administrative costs, subject to the ten percent administrative cost cap.

PJs may also choose to pay for required homebuyer counseling with other federal, local, or private funding, if available, or charge reasonable fees to homebuyers in accordance with §92.214(b)(1)(ii). Any fee charged to a potential homebuyer for the cost of housing counseling must be reasonable and not create an undue burden or impediment to low-income families seeking assistance.

Tags: HOME Homebuyer Assistance - Administration