Preparing for Housing Counseling NOFA Applications with HCS and through Grants.gov
Preparing for NOFA Applications with Housing Counseling System
Potential HUD Comprehensive Housing Counseling Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) applicants are encouraged to assure that their agencies are in compliance with all program requirements, including timely 9902 reporting and validation of Housing Counseling System (HCS) profiles.
Validation of HCS profiles is required at least once every 90 days. Please see the HCS section of the HUD Exchange page for additional details on how to properly validate data in HCS. Agencies are also encouraged to read the October 2018 Bridge article: “The Importance of Timely and Accurate Data in the Housing Counseling System.”
Preparing for NOFA Applications Through Grants.gov
HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agencies that plan to apply for federal grants in FY 2019 must be properly registered to apply electronically through grants.gov. The registration process can take between three to five business days or longer if all steps are not completed in a timely manner. For more information, applicants should access "A Guide to Registering for Grant Opportunities."
New users must complete a five-step registration process as outlined below:
Step 1: Obtain DUNS Number: The Federal Government has adopted the use of Duns and Bradstreet numbers (DUNS number) to track how federal grant money is allocated. To retrieve a DUNS number or register for a new one, visit Duns & Bradstreet. During the registration process, the DUNS number assigned to the applicant should match information previously provided, which is also contained in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records.
Step 2: Register with System for Award Management (SAM): Registering with SAM is also required to use grants.gov. Agencies can apply online by going to sam.gov. An individual account must be created before an agency can be registered. All registrants must designate an E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz POC). The E-Biz POC has the authority to select additional staff members who are authorized to submit applications through grants.gov on behalf of the agency. These designated staff members are called Authorized Organization Representatives (AORs). The SAM registration process can take up to seven business days to complete. An agency should allow an additional two weeks if it has not obtained an Employer Identification Number/Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS. Users who experience registration problems can get help by going to the FSA Help Desk or calling 866-606-8220.
Step 3: Username & Password: After an agency registers with SAM, their AORs must wait one business day before they can complete a profile and create their usernames and passwords on grants.gov. The username and password serve as an "electronic signature" when submitting applications through grants.gov. NOTE: Passwords expire every 60 days. Accounts inactive for one year or longer will result in removal of all account roles. For more account management information, review the applicant FAQs. Grants.gov support is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except Federal Holidays) at 1-800-518-4726 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 4: AOR Authorization: Only the E-Biz POC can approve AORs. This allows the agency to authorize specific staff members or consultants/ grant writers to submit grants. Only those who have been authorized by the E-Biz POC can submit applications on behalf of the agency.
Step 5: Track AOR Status: AORs can log in to track their approval status using their username and password (obtained in Step 3). Applicants may view the checklist for completing the registration process.
Applicants that have previously completed the registration process must renew or update their registration at the SAM Homepage. If an agency's registration has expired, the SAM profile can no longer be accessed using the DUNS number and Taxpayer Identification Number. HUD will not make a payment to an awardee whose SAM Registration has expired. An agency may contact the FSA Help Desk or call 866-606-8220 for assistance. For more information, view the Interim Rule published July 15, 2010 (75 FR 41087) and Final Rule published December 08, 2010 (75 FR 76260).
New Login Process for SAM.GOV Effective as of June 29, 2018:
What is the new login process for SAM.gov? After June 29, 2018, the first time you go to the U.S. Federal Government's System for Award Management (sam.gov) and log in, you will be asked to create a Login.gov user account. Going forward, all users logging in to the SAM.gov website will be authenticated through Login.gov. Your current SAM.gov username and password will no longer work to log in to SAM.gov. For more information, please review the SAM Update and FAQs: June 2018 on the HUD Exchange.