There are several exceptions to what is considered housing counseling. Entities that provide the services listed below, in the absence of housing counseling as defined in § 5.100, do not have to become agencies approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling program, and do not have to use HUD certified housing counselors in order to be compliant with this Final Rule. The following are examples of counseling that do not constitute housing counseling:
- Services that provide housing information, or placement or referral services, (e.g., mobility-related services for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program), do not constitute housing counseling and would not necessitate an individual providing these services to become a HUD certified housing counselor working for an agency approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling program under the Final Rule.
- Routine administrative activities (e.g., program eligibility determinations, intake, case management, property management, and the collection of rent or loans) are not housing counseling.
- Holistic case management for persons with special needs, for persons undergoing relocation in the course of a HUD program (including relocation and other advisory services provided pursuant to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 and other Federal laws), or for social services programs that also provide housing services as incidental to a larger case management program are not housing counseling. The Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) program, Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program, and Continuum of Care (CoC) program permit various housing and supportive services as eligible use of funds. If these housing services are part of a larger set of case management services, they do not trigger the certification requirements of this rule. However, in these programs, there may be instances where housing counseling, as defined in this rule, is being provided. For example, if a participant in these programs is receiving housing counseling, as defined in § 5.100, as a separate specialized service, the housing counseling has to be provided by a certified housing counselor working for an agency approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling program.
- Fair housing advice and advocacy offered in isolation from housing counseling as defined in § 5.100, i.e. without providing for an intake; financial and housing affordability analysis; an action plan to address other housing needs or goals; and follow up.