Does an agency participating in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program have to start offering counseling services in all six of the competency areas covered by the housing counselor standardized examination, i.e. financial management; property maintenance; responsibilities of homeownership and tenancy; fair housing laws and requirements; housing affordability; and, avoidance of, and response to, rental or mortgage delinquency and avoidance of eviction or mortgage default?
Date Published: December 2016
While the Final Rule requires that counselors must demonstrate competency in all six areas, agencies are not required to provide housing counseling in all areas or to require counselors to change their specializations. Agencies can continue to determine the areas of specialization for each counselor, and for the agency itself, based on the work load of the agency and the needs of its client base. The new certification assures a baseline of housing knowledge by counselors through a single, government-issued, national credential. This will further ensure that counselors that specialize in specific types of counseling will have the knowledge to make appropriate referrals for clients who have housing issues beyond the scope of the services that a counselor is providing.
However, all participating agencies that provide Homeownership Counseling have the additional requirement as outlined in the FAQs that the agencies shall address the entire process of homeownership.