Housing Counseling System

This page contains information on the Housing Counseling System (HCS). Select a topic to find relevant guidance and resources.

Log in to the HCS System

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Overview

Housing Counseling System (HCS) is a real-time web application that manages the counseling program data. It maintains the list of agencies, collects client data, processes grant applications, and provides performance reports. Click the link above to activate the access login page. (It is recommended that you don't bookmark the HCS log-in page but you should instead bookmark this page in order to access HCS.)

Responsibilities

  1. Agencies are required to submit their data electronically into HCS using a Client Management System (CMS) of their choice.
  2. Agencies are responsible for ensuring their data is submitted on time, complete, and accurate.
  3. Agencies are required to validate their data at least once every 90 days.
  4. HUD Office of Housing Counseling staff are responsible for ensuring that their assigned agencies comply.
  5. Agencies are categorized on a Risk scale taking into consideration their HCS compliance and other factors.

HCS Data

All agencies are required to provide HUD access to housing counseling data to allow monitoring of their Housing Counseling program. This data will be submitted by the agency into the Housing Counseling System (HCS). Due to the amount of data, each agency must incorporate in their housing counseling process a Counseling Application to collect data and electronically transmit the data into HCS. A list of required data agencies are responsible to provide to HCS is available in the Resources section as CMS Submission Data Requirements. All agencies are required to access HCS to verify that the data submitted is complete and accurate. To ensure data is correct, all agencies must validate their HCS profile a minimum of once every 90 days signifying that they acknowledge the information posted is to their satisfaction.

CMS

As of fiscal year 2008, all agencies are required to utilize an automated counseling application of their choice. The application is generally referred to as the “Client Management System (CMS)”. The purpose of the CMS is to automate counseling services, store client data, and interface with the HCS Agency Reporting Module to submit required data to HUD. A HUD-approved CMS can submit agency data in XML format directly from the agencies’ internal systems to HCS. Agencies can develop or select any CMS of choice so long as the CMS is approved by HUD.

Please visit the CMS Requirement Guidance for more information and for a list of HUD-compatible CMS products.

When submitting data from a CMS to HCS, agencies must follow a specific procedure to ensure their data submissions are transmitted successfully. CMS have been instructed to allow transmitting data in four (4) separate sets to allow flexibility and reliability in the submission of data. The data sets agencies can send to HCS are: Agency Profile, Counselor Profile, HUD-9902 Performance Reports (Form 9902), and Client Profile. Agencies must submit the data sets in the following order:

  1. Submit agency profile data. Once successfully submitted, the agency profile data is only required to be submitted when updates to the data are available. Submitting agency data is the step that sets the agency’s CMS designation in HCS. This allows HUD to identify that the agency is in compliance.
  2. Submit counselor profile data. Counselor data must be successfully submitted to HCS prior to submitting Form 9902 and Client data. Once successfully submitted, the Counselor Profile data is only required to be submitted when updates to the data are available.
  3. Submit Form 9902 and Client Profile data quarterly. The Form 9902 and Client Profile submissions should always be submitted by the quarterly reporting due date. HUD will compare the Client data with the Form 9902 report to validate reporting accuracy.
  4. Confirm data successfully submitted. Agencies are required to manually access HCS to confirm the data transmitted is correct and complete. Agencies should mark the validation on the quarterly Form 9902 in HCS to show proof of verification.

System Requirements

HUD recommends using Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 10 to access HCS. Minor loss of functionality may occur while HCS is accessed via different browsers and operation systems.

Note:

Agencies requiring assistance with their Agency ID and password for logging into HCS should contact their HUD point of contact.

Agencies submit their quarterly performance reports on a HUD-9902 form. Please visit the CMS Requirement Guidance page for information on the submission requirements related to the form.

Grant awardees must also enter their HUD Client Projections in HCS. Refer to the 9902 Projection Training Guide for instructions on how to complete projections.

Technical Support

Please report all technical issues or problems to your designated HUD contact first. If your HUD contact is unable to provide assistance, report technical issue or system error to the HUD National Help Desk at (888) 297-8689 or (202) 708-3300 and choose option 9.

Tell the Help Desk specialist that you need assistance with application:

HCS (F11) - Housing Counseling System.

Provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Name of your organization
  • HCS agency ID if applicable
  • Login ID - If you do not have Login ID, or it is not registered with the HUD National Help Desk, they will use "HCS-ARM Customer" as the general contact record
  • Brief description of the issue

Please ensure that the ticket is routed to the "HSGN - HCS - ARM" group.

Help Desk hours are 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET.

Improvement Release

HCS improvement releases summarize the improvements included with each new release of HCS.