Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool

What is a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency?

HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agencies (HCA) are organizations supported or sponsored by HUD and administer housing counseling services across the country. A HUD-approved HCA is eligible to apply to HUD for grant funding under its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).

HCAs represent a diverse set of organizations who work among HUD programs including public housing authorities, community housing development organizations (CHDOs), tribally designated housing entities, community development corporations, etc.

HCAs provide a valuable service within a community and serve consumers with counseling across housing needs from homeless and rental housing to pre-purchase homebuyer education.

For more information on the overall process and the requirements for becoming a HUD-approved HCA, please visit this page within the HUD Exchange: How to Become a HUD-approved HCA.

What is the Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool?

The Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool allows organizations to determine if they meet the basic requirements to apply to become a HUD-approved HCA.

This tool does not replace a formal review by HUD. Organizations are strongly encouraged to complete the tool before starting their HUD application, Form HUD 9900. Successful organizations will receive directions on how to apply directly to HUD at the end of the tool, but should apply to HUD within 90 days of successful completion of the tool. Alternatively, those organizations planning to apply to work with a HUD Participating Intermediary or State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) may also use this tool to either a) Apply directly to HUD or b) Provide results to either an intermediary or a SHFA.

Simply answer a series of questions and the Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool will help you understand if your organization is a good candidate for HUD approval using basic criteria. If your organization does not meet the basic criteria, you will receive a list of steps to complete to meet the basic criteria.

Completion of the Tool takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Users can start the Tool, save their information, and restart the Tool at any point in time.

Who Should Use the Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool?

Organizations interested in becoming HUD-approved to provide counseling services must be either: 1) a private or public nonprofit organization or 2) a state or local government. Individuals interested in becoming housing counselors should visit the HUD Exchange Housing Counseling resource page. For-profit entities are not eligible to become HUD-approved HCAs.

Organizations may apply as any of the following: a Local Housing Counseling Agency (LHCA), an Intermediary (regional or national), a multi-state organization, or as a state housing finance agency (HFA).

An LHCA is eligible to apply to HUD for grant funding under its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) or they can plan to apply to work through a with a HUD Participating Intermediary or state housing finance agency (HFA).

HUD Participating Intermediaries and State HFAs may choose to use this tool for potentially new organizations who want to join their network.

The options for participating with HUD’s Housing Counseling program are described in the Approval Process flowchart.

How Do I Complete the Housing Counseling Agency Eligibility Tool?

Before getting started, review the supplemental materials.

You must have a HUD Exchange account to use the Tool. When you are ready, log into your HUD Exchange to start completing the tool.

Supplemental Materials

Tool At A Glance
View the questions asked in the tool and brief descriptions of related requirements and links to related resources

Organization Definitions
Defines the types of organizations referenced in the tool

Answers to common questions on recordkeeping, conflict of interest, housing counseling delivery, offsite accommodations, data security, and more

Overview of HUD Approval Process
Provides the steps to become a HUD-approved HCA

How to Become a HUD-Approved HCA
Summarizes the qualifying criteria and instructions for submitting applications to HUD for approval

24 CFR 214 Housing Counseling Program Final Rule
The regulations for the Housing Counseling Program

7610.1 Rev 5
The Housing Counseling Program Handbook


Disclaimer: This tool is for pre-screening potentially eligible HUD-approved HCAs. It is also designed to provide training and education. This tool does not guarantee HUD approval.

Get Started

Sign in and complete the tool.

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Need a HUD Exchange Account?

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Download Tool Questions as a PDF

Housing Counselor Certification

Please be aware that by August 1, 2021, all housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs must be provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors. For more information about how to become a HUD Certified Housing Counselor, visit the Housing Counseling Certification Requirements page.


For technical issues with the tool, contact the HUD Exchange team.

For questions about agency eligibility and requirements, contact housing.counseling@hud.gov.