Housing Counseling Resources

Explaining Housing Counseling

Housing Action Illinois created this What is Housing Counseling? video to help housing counselors explain who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. You’re welcome to embed it on your website by following these instructions »

Making the Case for Housing Counseling

Research on the Benefits of Housing Counseling
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.

Housing Action Webinars

Foreclosure & Bankruptcy

Rentals, Foreclosures, and Bankruptcy Court in the Time of COVID-19 (2020)
Bankruptcy: What Housing Counselors Need to Know (2020)
Saving Homes Through Bankruptcy (2019)
Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Process (2018)
For Foreclosure Prevention Program Grantee Agencies (2017)
  • 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.
HELOCs and Foreclosure (2016)
home-167734_1920Home 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.

Fair Lending

Keeping the ‘Community’ in the Community Reinvestment Act (2020)

Best Practices

Grant Writing: Best Practices (2017)

 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.

Best Practices for Housing Counselors (2014)
housingcounselorsIn 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 »

Additional Topics

Dealing with Property of Elderly and Deceased Mortgagors (2019)
Anti-Predatory Lending Database (2018)
Developing a Financial Education Program (2013)
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.

Presentation by Cheryll Boswell, Executive Director of METEC

Presentation by Megan Kursik, Coordinator of Michigan Communities for Financial Empowerment

Getting Your HUD Certification

Beginning August 1, 2021, housing counselors will be required to become certified via a HUD-administered exam.

We break down what you need to know in our FAQ and have created an Online Study Group to help housing counselors prepare for the exam.

Choosing a HUD-Approved CMS

Housing counseling agencies rely on Client Management Systems (CMSs) to track clients and outcomes. Trying to compare these complicated systems can be daunting so we created profiles of each CMS to help housing counselors assess their options. See the CMS Guide 2.0.

Fighting Housing Discrimination

Find our brochure on fair lending, info about the Community Reinvestment Act, contact info for fair housing enforcement agencies, and more at our page on fair housing.

Fair Housing Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Tools for Housing Counselors (2020)
Fair Housing Webinars (2016)
Alternative_Handicapped_Accessible_sign.svgIn-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. EqualHousingOpportunity

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.

Latest News for Housing Counselors

HUD Certified Housing Counselor Exam FAQ

In December 2016, 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. HUD Certification Exam Online...

Launching a Housing Counseling Program

“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,...