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HUD Housing Counselor Certification Highlights

November 09, 2020 Print ShareThis

HUD published the Housing Counseling New Certification Requirements Interim Final Rule to “Amend Housing Counselor Certification Deadline to Ensure Vital Counseling Services Remain Available During COVID-19 National Emergency” on August 5, 2020. The new final compliance date is August 1, 2021. As of that date, all housing counselors must be HUD certified in order to provide housing counseling for a HUD participating agency. Only those staff who have achieved the professional milestone of HUD certified housing counselor will be able to provide housing counseling or oversee group education sessions.

The HUD housing counselor certification deadline is August 1, 2021. Don’t delay, certify today!

HUD Simplifies Identification Process for Housing Counselor Certification Exam

Beginning November 2, 2020, HUD no longer requires Keystroke Authentication as a part of the identification process utilized to verify the identity of online exam takers. By simplifying the identification process, HUD makes it easier for housing counselors to take the online version of the housing counselor certification exam. Please see the Certification Examination Preparation and Testing page for updates and more information.

Reasonable Accommodation (RA) Requests

Housing counselors seeking reasonable accommodations (RA) to facilitate taking the housing counselor certification exam should reach out to HUD through the technical support section on the HUDHousingCounselors.com website.

Please be advised that HUD follows Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines and needs 30 days to review RA requests and schedule accommodations. Please contact HUD through the exam website for an RA request at least 30 days before you schedule your exam date.

Learn more by visiting the HUD Exchange Certification page. If you have any questions, please contact your HUD Point of Contact or email: housing.counseling@hud.gov.

HUDHousingCounselors.com Website

The HUDHousingCounselors.com portal provides a full revision history of training materials, detailing changes to specific modules, and modules are dated to ensure users are accessing the most recent version.

Tracking Housing Counselor Certification Program Progress

Did you know that HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) has a dedicated certification progress tracking page that shows progress in HUD’s housing counselor certification program?

The page features a graphic showing the percentage of housing counseling agencies with at least one certified housing counselor. Each month, there are highlights provided on the top 10 states with certified housing counselors and other facts and resources. Visit Tracking Progress to find out.

Housing Counselor Certification Success Stories and Best Practices

Are you trying to find fresh and engaging ideas to add to your housing counselor certification toolbox? OHC has a new HUD Exchange webpage on Housing Counselor Certification Success Stories and Best Practices including:

  • A sample HUD certification timeline
  • Video presentations
  • Amazing success stories
  • Best practices from the housing counseling industry

Do you have your own certification tools or want to share your success story? Email housing.counseling@hud.gov to share.

Housing Counselor Certification Resources

As of October 1, 2020, 67 percent of HUD participating housing counseling agencies (HCAs) now have at least one HUD certified housing counselor. If your agency is a part of the 33 percent of HCAs in the HUD housing counseling program that have not come into compliance, do you have a plan for meeting the final rule by August 1, 2021?

  • If you are an agency executive, are you aware of your counseling staff’s engagement in the certification process?
  • Have you championed the need for your counselors to become certified and spoken of the value HUD Housing Counselor certification brings to the agency?
  • Are you aware of the commitment and time required for counselors to study, attend trainings, take, and pass the exam and complete the necessary steps in FHA Connection (FHAC)?

Check out these resources available to provide information on the certification process:

FHA Connection Highlights

How HUD Participating Housing Counseling Agencies Designate an FHA Connection Application Coordinator

For HCAs to complete the housing counselor certification process, all HUD participating HCAs must have an FHAC application coordinator. FHAC is the system HUD participating housing counseling agencies use to confirm the employment of certified housing counselors. An FHAC application coordinator is an individual that the HUD participating HCA designates to verify the employment status of housing counselors who work for their agency.

The housing counselor certification process is not complete until the HCA’s FHAC application coordinator completes the employment verification process for the individual housing counselor in FHAC. It is highly recommended that HCAs complete the FHAC application coordinator process before their counselors take the HUD housing counselor certification exam.

To learn more and to get started, please visit the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Application Process page. Also search HUD’s Frequently Asked Questions using the key words “FHAC”, “FHA Connection” or “Application Coordinator” to read questions and answers on the FHAC process.

How can agency application coordinators get a status report from FHAC on the HUD Certified Counselors in their own network?

Application coordinators who work for an intermediary agency can export a spreadsheet of all counselors who work in the intermediary’s network. Learn how to download this report from FHAC.

Certification FAQs

For answers to common questions about housing counselor certification, please review the FAQ page on the HUD Exchange. There are FAQs on a wide variety of questions, including this one below:

Question: Can an agency approved to participate in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program offer housing counseling if it no longer has a HUD certified counselor as of the Final Compliance Date?

Answer: Prior to August 1, 2021, the Final Compliance Date, counselor certification is not a requirement, and an agency covered by the rule can continue to offer housing counseling regardless of whether they have a HUD certified counselor working for them. However, as of August 1, 2021, the Final Compliance Date, all Housing Counseling must be performed by HUD certified counselors, and any agency without at least one certified counselor will no longer be able to perform housing counseling.

Learn more about housing counselor certification by visiting the HUD Exchange Certification page. If you have any questions, please contact your HUD Point of Contact or email: housing.counseling@hud.gov.

Tags: Housing Counseling Program