May/June 2019, Volume 7 Issue 09

From the Deputy Assistant Secretary


"People don't like change."
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something."

I LOVE change and love transforming myself through learning, listening, and taking a chance. I also grow by learning from others, especially those who are brave and wise enough to show me a better path than the one I'm taking.

Housing counselors are in the change business. They transform clients from being poor credit risks to having good credit habits, from feeling powerless to feeling in some control, from poorly housed to better housed. It takes a strong partnership with the client and a willingness to try different techniques. It takes patience.

There are a lot of variables that affect people's ability to obtain, sustain, and retain their housing – and a lot of variables that affect our ability to support them. But the one thing that doesn’t vary is our commitment to transforming the Housing Counseling Program to help change lives.

While we continue to support the industry as it exists now, know that we’re also building a vision for the next 50 years of housing counseling, setting priorities to ensure we effectively advance that vision, and continuing to deliver tools and resources that help counselors and industry professionals implement that vision. This continued evolution allows us to better meet the needs of housing counseling agencies, which, in turn, allows these agencies to deliver the highest quality of housing counseling.

In this issue of The Bridge, we explore some of the ways that the Office of Housing Counseling and its participating agencies are already engaged in transformative work. In particular, the articles discuss:    

  • Priorities for ensuring that agencies meet program standards, demonstrate good stewardship of federal funds, and provide quality counseling to consumers;
  • Success stories from housing counseling professionals that are changing lives;
  • Agency approaches to motivating and supporting counselors through the certification process;
  • Tools and resources to strengthen communications efforts with diverse clients and consumers; and
  • Efforts to build a vision for the next 50 years of housing counseling.

By building a program that better serves participating agencies and their staff, we’re building the capacity to better serve clients. As you join us on this journey, embrace the opportunity to make transformations that will help your agency make an even stronger impact in the community. We have the opportunity to change lives through housing; let’s make the most of it!



Sarah Gerecke

Sarah Gerecke

Deputy Assistant Secretary Office of Housing Counseling