Housing Counseling Resources
Housing Action Webinars
Grant Writing: Best Practices
- Check out our introductory webinar on best practices for grant writing. This advice is relevant not only when you’re applying for funding from IHDA but also when applying for funding from other sources.
- Another good resource for advice on grant writing is Forefront, a statewide membership association for nonprofits, grantmakers, public agencies, and advisors. Forefront hosts webinars and trainings throughout Illinois, some of which are free.
HELOCs and Foreclosure
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can be a convenient, flexible and low-cost way to borrow money, but in situations of financial trouble could lead to foreclosure. In August 2016, we hosted a webinar with Ainat Margalit, a Senior Attorney in the Consumer Practice Group at LAF, to teach the basics of HELOC, foreclosure, and loss mitigation, and how to help clients navigate them.
For Foreclosure Prevention Program Grantee Agencies
- View our webinar for FPP-4 grantees that provides a detailed overview of the required steps and documentation needed to complete the FPP-4 Quarterly Disbursement Statement.
- Coming soon: we will also be doing a webinar specifically for FPP-G grantees that helps you navigate the reporting process.
Fair Housing Resources
In-Depth Focus on Fair Housing Rights for People with Disabilities
We hosted this webinar on the fair housing rights of people with disabilities in July 2016. The presentation covered reasonable accommodations, reasonable modifications, service animals, illegal inquiries about a person’s disability, effective communication, and other legal issues. It relied on hypothetical scenarios as the main teaching tools.
Fair Housing Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Tools for Housing Counselors
In May 2016, we hosted this webinar with expert presenter Jessica Schneider, Staff Attorney in the Educational Equity and Fair Housing Projects of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The presentation included information on fair housing laws, legal rights and responsibilities for housing seekers and housing providers, and resources for filing complaints for fair housing violations.
Best Practices for Housing Counselors
In December 2014, Housing Action Illinois and the Illinois Development Housing Authority (IHDA) presented on best practices for housing counselors, covering topics such as understanding counseling services, HUD and IHDA expectations, record keeping, and reporting. See the presentation slides »
Developing a Financial Education Program
Studies show that people receiving financial education beyond housing counseling make more informed financial choices. At our 2013 annual Housing Matters! conference, presented on how to introduce comprehensive financial education to a housing counseling agency and strategies for helping an agency and counselors emphasize lifelong financial education.
Rent to Own
- Recording: Protections for Rent to Own Homebuyers in Illinois
- Presentation: Protections for Rent to Own Homebuyers in Illinois
Housing Action Initiatives & Resources
HUD Certified Housing Counselor Exam FAQ
Starting on August 1, 2017, housing counselors will be able to take a HUD-administered exam and become certified (which will be a requirement starting on August 1, 2020). We break down what you need to know and how to prepare in our HUD Certified Housing Counselor Exam FAQ »
Fighting Housing Discrimination
HUD-Approved Client Management Systems
HCO Training (coming soon)
Research on the Benefits of Housing Counseling
- 82% of clients who receive housing counseling think it was a helpful experience, according to the 2015 American Housing Survey, which looks at rates of housing counseling across the nation.
- Homebuyer education and counseling can “provide timely, powerful support for prospective and current homeowners as they assess their options and make decisions,” according to an overview of relevant research in Evidence Matters, published in 2016 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Policy Development and Research.
- Neil Mayer and Associates, together with Experian, conducted a study published in 2012 on the effectiveness of NeighborWorks pre-purchase homeownership counseling and education. Overall, the study found clients receiving pre-purchase counseling and education from NeighborWorks organizations are one-third less likely to become 90+ days delinquent over the two years after receiving their loan than are borrowers who do not receive pre-purchase counseling from NeighborWorks organizations. In 2016, the Urban Institute continued the examination of NeighborWorks counseling in a report titled NeighborWorks America’s Homeownership Education and Counseling: Who Receives It and Is It Effective?
- A 2016 study by a doctoral student at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, The Influence of Homebuyer Education on Default and Foreclosure Risk, found that first-time homebuyers who attended homebuyer education course were much less likely to lose their home to foreclosure.
Research on the Barriers to Homeownership
In November 2017, the Urban Institute released a report titled Barriers to Accessing Homeownership that provides data and commentary on three significant barriers to homeownership: saving for a down payment, accessing mortgage credit and housing affordability. The report also offers information about down payment assistance programs which can help borrowers overcome the first barrier to homeownership.
Latest News for Housing Counselors
“Information is power,” says Guadalupe Gasca. As a housing counselor at Centro Romero, the information that Lupe gives families on the northeast side of Chicago helps them find and keep good apartments and homes. “Too many people don’t know their rights,...
This spring, Housing Action is excited to welcome three new housing counseling agencies to our Housing Counseling Intermediary network: Central Detroit Christian CDC, The Housing Partnership, and Advantage Housing. Housing counselors work...
Housing Action Illinois has come a long way since we hired our first full-time staff member in 1988—a single employee who shared our offices with the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. Today, we have 14 full-time staff members, and we’ve grown so...
1. Housing Action Illinois turned 30! We celebrated thirty years of leading the movement for affordable homes in Illinois—and renewed our resolve to continue working until everyone in our state has a stable, healthy, affordable place to call home. 2. We...
Housing Action Illinois Awarded $820,030 in Housing Counseling Funds: 26 Agencies to Receive Sub-Grants
HUD has awarded $820,030 to Housing Action Illinois to distribute resources to local organizations whose housing programs and services prevent foreclosures and help families rent or buy safe, affordable homes. This year’s network of 26 housing counseling...
We're excited to announce that Housing Action Illinois is beginning to facilitate housing counselor trainings not just in Illinois but in states across the nation. In response to needs expressed by housing counselors, Housing Action has started to develop...
Last December, HUD issued a Final Rule for the Housing Counseling program that requires that all individuals who provide housing counseling in connection with a HUD program must take and pass a HUD-administered certification exam. When will the exam be available? The...
Americans are more likely to rent a home today than at any other time during the previous 50 years. Given this landscape, it is essential for housing counselors to empower clients with information and resources during every step of the rental process....
Home Counselor Online (HCO) is a free client management system (CMS) developed and managed by Fannie Mae that can make required reporting to HUD and other funders easier. But until now, there hasn’t been a comprehensive hands-on training to teach housing...
Federal Level Advocacy Along with advocates from across the country who work to create affordable housing and end homelessness, we are dismayed by President Trump’s budget “blueprint" for next year. Why? The proposal cuts the HUD budget by $6.2 billion (13%). The...