Let's Make Home Happen
December 2017, Volume 6 Issue 6
Improved Reporting of Housing Counseling Activities
The Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) relies on its network of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and counselors to help families obtain, sustain and retain their homes. To measure the effectiveness of our collective efforts, HUD-approved agencies are required to submit quarterly reports (HUD-9902) which provide valuable demographic and statistical data. When more agencies report, OHC has a more robust data set and can better evaluate the overall impact of housing counseling activities. Data from the HUD-9902 is available to the public and is used to support future budget requests.
Room to Improve: Increasing Reporting through Outreach and Training
The first step in this process is to make sure that our agencies are reporting. OHC provided training, resources, and implemented an outreach strategy to proactively increase the number of housing counseling agencies submitting HUD-9902 reports. This produced a significant increase in reporting from a historical rate of about 85% of agencies reporting each quarter to 95% the past two quarters (see chart below).
The Quest for Better Data Quality
With the increase in reporting underway, OHC’s next step is to expand the outreach strategy to address data quality. Within HUD’s Agency Performance Plan, OHC has two established goals. The first goal is for at least 25% of all clients served to gain access to housing resources, and the second is that at least 50% develop a sustainable household budget. Achievement of these goals would greatly improve the client’s ability to make responsible choices to address their financial situations. To date, OHC has not been able to meet these goals (see charts below).
To overcome this challenge, OHC will expand the outreach strategy to assist housing counselors with tracking and reporting. This will ensure the collection of reliable, quality data that clearly illustrates how housing counselors positively impact the lives of their clients.
If you find that you are not reaching these two goals for your program, please refer to the HUD-9902 Desk Guide for guidance and examples of how to report these impacts in Sections 10c (Developing Household Budgets) and 10e (Gaining Access to Housing Resources). If necessary, you have until December 31 to make changes to your fourth quarter report.