“Conversion of Distressed Public Housing to Tenant-Based Assistance” is listed in the certification rule as a “HUD Program where Housing Counseling is funded under the HUD program.” Does that mean that all public housing agencies (PHAs) undergoing Conversion of Distressed Public Housing to Tenant-Based Assistance have to become approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program, and PHA staff providing services to displaced residents have to become HUD certified housing counselors?
Date Published: December 2016
No, although there are certain circumstances in which certification is a requirement. The certification rule states that:
“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.”
Therefore, services provided to residents undergoing relocation as part of the Conversion of Distressed Public Housing to Tenant-Based Assistance Program are generally not considered housing counseling, thus, HUD certification is not required. However, there may be instances where Housing Counseling, as defined in the Final Rule, is being provided under the Conversion of Distressed Public Housing to Tenant-Based Assistance Program. For example, if a resident is receiving Housing Counseling, as defined in the Final Rule, as a separate specialized service, then the housing counseling has to be provided by a HUD certified housing counselor working for agency participating in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program by the Final Compliance Date. The Final Rule defines housing counseling at 24 CFR 5.100 as:
“Independent, expert advice customized to the need of the consumer to address the consumers’ housing barriers and achieve their housing goals and must include the following process: intake; financial and housing affordability analysis; an action plan, except for reverse mortgage counseling; and a reasonable effort to have follow-up communication with the client when possible. The content and process of housing counseling must meet the standards outlined in the regulations that govern HUD’s Housing Counseling Program at 24 CFR part 214. Homeownership counseling and rental counseling are types of Housing Counseling.”
Please note that routine administrative activities of the Public Housing Program (e.g., program eligibility determinations, intake, case management), or mobility-related services, are not housing counseling for the purposes of the certification rule.