December 20, 2016

VHDA’s Commitment to the HUD Housing Counseling Network— Past, Present and Future

Since 1996, when VHDA sponsored the first national conference on counseling and loss mitigation for single-family loans, we’ve recognized the important role housing counseling plays in affordable housing. Today, 20 years later, our commitment to counseling continues through a variety of initiatives, including the HUD Housing Counseling grant program and eight VHDA-funded grant programs. A five-member team handles VHDA’s grant programs, which include the HUD Housing Counseling and Education grant. Each team member is assigned a portfolio of specific nonprofit organizations and local government partners. Team members provide individual assistance, often meeting one-on-one with organizations and partners to address concerns, troubleshoot and discuss improvements to services.

VHDA also has added a compliance officer to our staff to develop and maintain policy and procedures for all grant programs to make sure VHDA meets all HUD and OMB requirements. The officer also provides oversight for VHDA’s Grant Management Team, as well as for our external partners. This results in improved service delivery, streamlined processes when applicable, and the assurance that VHDA and our counseling network are following the necessary HUD policies.

In addition, VHDA also contracts with NeighborWorks® America to provide local training and certifications for our housing partners. VHDA hosts this place-based training to ensure the network is receiving training that meets the National Standards for Homeownership Counseling and Education. Knowing that HUD’s Final Rule regarding certification will be released soon, we plan to provide our counseling network with access to the resources and training they need in the coming new year.

Finally, VHDA recently implemented a new grant management system to simplify our housing counseling grant process from application to closeout. We continue to solicit feedback and look for improvements to manage our grant funds through this system.

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