Sarah Gerecke, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Housing Counseling,

With the likelihood that Congress will have a series of Continuing Resolutions for FY 2014, housing counseling agencies face another year of delayed and unpredictable funding. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing counseling funding is a critical piece of overall budgets for groups that work to promote successful rental and homeownership housing. Unpredictable budgeting can translate into fewer clients served, staff layoffs, reductions in programs offered, and possibly agencies eliminating their housing counseling program altogether. 

We strongly encourage HUD to implement three steps which will limit some of the problems caused by the continuing resolution:

  1. Issue the HUD Comprehensive Housing Counseling Notification of Funding Availability (NOFA) as early as possible. With the scoring in hand, HUD can move quickly to issue funding awards when funds become available.

  2. Permit Agencies to submit monthly draws, rather than limiting draws to quarterly draws.  

  1. Provide contract extensions without penalty to the agency when the funding is delayed during the contract year.

In FY 2013, awards were not announced until June 2013, nine months into the contract year. This delay creates a budgeting bind for organizations that are not willing to bill clients for HUD funds until an award amount is received. Many organizations with different fiscal year end dates cannot retroactively reallocate clients to HUD funds after books have been closed.

HUD funding is a crucial element to the continued success of housing counseling agencies.  We strongly encourage HUD to proactively manage the funding process to help keep counseling services available to the public.

Sincerely,

The following member organizations of NYS CXHE:

Albany County Rural Housing Alliance

Rural Ulster Preservation Company

Affordable Housing Partnership

Friends of the North Country

Home HeadQuarters Inc.

Habitat For Humanity NYS

United Tenants of Albany

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