Tribal Consultation on the Final Rule for Housing Counseling Certification
In 2010, Section 106 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 (12 U.S.C. 1701x) (Section 106) was amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, approved July 21, 2010) (Dodd-Frank Act). The amendment requires that any homeownership counseling or rental housing counseling required under, or provided in connection with, any program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must be provided only by organizations or counselors certified by the Secretary as competent to provide such counseling. See Section 1445 of the Dodd-Frank Act (124 Stat. at 2171-2172) and Section 106(e), (f), and (g) (12 U.S.C. 1701x(e), (f), and (g)).
Two tribal consultation sessions were conducted to obtain feedback on implementation of the statutory amendments as it applies to the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program and the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program. The sessions also obtained feedback to determine how to apply the housing counseling program and certification requirements in Section 106 to these programs.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 National Emergency, two identical virtual tribal consultations were hosted via webinar to give tribal leaders the opportunity to provide feedback to HUD. Tribal leaders and tribal housing practitioners were encouraged to participate.
Virtual Consultation Session 1
Virtual Consultation Session 2
On December 14, 2016, HUD published a final rule in the Federal Register entitled “Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements. The rule implements the Section 106 counselor certification amendments by requiring that within 36 months of the availability of a certification examination, housing counseling (as required by or provided in connection with HUD programs) could only be provided by HUD certified housing counselors working for a participating agency. The original compliance date for counselor certification was August 1, 2020. However, on July 31, 2020, HUD published an interim final rule on its website to announce a new compliance date of August 1, 2021, followed by publication of an interim final rule on August 5, 2020, and final rule on December 4, 2020.
While the final rule established the August 1, 2021 deadline for HUD programs, the rule will only apply to the IHBG and the ICDBG programs after completion of tribal consultation and rulemaking. In future rulemaking, informed by this tribal consultation and other public comment, HUD will codify how the certification requirements are applicable to the IHBG and ICDBG programs, and eligibility requirements for tribes to participate in the HUD Housing Counseling Program.
HUD’s Housing Counseling Program has been active for over 50 years. This program is authorized by Section 106, and the implementing regulations are codified at 24 CFR Part 214. The Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) sets standards and oversees a network of approximately 1,750 housing counseling agencies. OHC administers a grant program through a Departmental Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) where eligible housing counseling agencies may apply for funding. Learn more about the approval process at How to Become a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency. OHC also monitors HUD-approved housing counseling agencies for compliance with program requirements and the quality of housing counseling services.