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FY 2003 Housing Counseling SuperNOFA
Frequently Asked Questions

Q#1. How can I get a copy of the Housing Counseling NOFA?
A. The due date for all applications is June 25, 2003. Application submission instructions have changed due to security concerns so read the NOFA carefully to learn acceptable ways to submit.
Q#2. How can I get a copy of the Housing Counseling NOFA?

The Housing Counseling NOFA was published in the Federal Register on April 25, 2003.
� The HUD SuperNOFA clearinghouse [1-800-HUD-8929, and 1-800-HUD-2209 for the hearing impaired.]

Q#3. Without the application kit, how will the local agency know what to submit?

Application submission requirements are listed in Section VI of the Housing Counseling NOFA, entitled "Application Submission Requirements."

Applications should be organized in the order in which they appear in Section VI of the Housing Counseling, entitled "Application Submission Requirements."

Similarly, the standard forms should be submitted in the same order they appear in Section V(H) of the General Section of the SuperNOFA

Q#4. I can't find all the forms I need to submit with my application. Did I receive an incomplete application package?
A. The only form that is unique to the Housing Counseling NOFA is form HUD-9902, Housing Counseling Agency Fiscal Year Activity Report, which appears in Appendix A at the end of the Housing Counseling NOFA.

This form should be used to document past performance, as requested in Part B of Rating Factor # 1.
Q#5. Is there a required format for application submission - for example, the number of pages per factor, double or single- spaced, bound, etc.?

Yes. Applicants should keep answers as concise and direct as possible. The NOFA limits no more than 10 double-spaced, size 12 font, single-sided pages per rating factor. However, if you need to include more information to make your case, you should certainly do so. Applicants should not feel any pressure to submit less information than you think is adequate.

Also, applications must be bound or secured in a binder, tabbed and should contain page numbers. Applicants must submit an original and two copies of an application to the appropriate HUD location. HUD will not accept any NOFA applications via fax.

Similarly, applicants should make the document as reader-friendly as possible. You will not be penalized for any formatting choices you make. However, remember HUD receives hundreds of housing counseling applications and the reviewers will appreciate applications that are well-organized, contain clear details and direct responses.

Q#6. As a HUD-approved local housing counseling agency (LHCAs), is it possible that my agency can apply and receive a grant through the LHCA category and the Colonias, the new Predatory Grant categories as well as the Section 8 Homeownership Voucher NOFA?���
A. Yes. HUD-approved LHCAs can apply for and receive a grant through Category 1-LHCA, Category 4-Colonias, Category 5-Predatory �� Lending and in the new NOFA, Section 8 Homeownership Voucher � Housing Counseling.

Similarly, HUD-approved national and regional intermediaries and state housing finance agencies can receive grants through their respective categories, as well as through the Colonias, Predatory Lending, and Section 8 Homeownership Voucher � Housing Counseling categories / NOFA.
Q#7. Can a HUD-approved local housing counseling agency (LHCA) apply to HUD directly and also to the State Housing Finance Agency (SHFA)?

No. LHCAs must choose one of the following three options: (1) apply to HUD directly through Category 1, Local Housing Counseling Agency, or (2) apply to a state housing finance agency as an affiliate, or (3) apply to a national or regional intermediary as an affiliate.

As mentioned above, LHCAs are also eligible to apply for and receive a grant under the other funding categories, Colonias, Predatory Lending, and Section 8 Homeownership Voucher - Counseling, in addition to receiving an award through one of the three options outlined in this response.

Q#8. Can HUD Housing Counseling Pogram funds be used for expenses other than salaries?

Yes.� All of the costs of doing business may be covered by the grant.� In other words, we know that you will have to pay salaries, but you also have "overhead" or "administrative" expenses that you pay, such as rent �on your building, equipment (computer) costs and the expense of training your employees to make sure they know the latest information to inform their clients.� Therefore, your grant can be used to cover the costs associated with providing your housing counseling services.

The NOFA also requires submission of an indirect cost rate. That rate will tell us how much of your reimbursement will cover the costs directly related to the counseling services, such as counselor salaries, vs. your indirect costs not directly associated with your counseling program. OMB Circular A-122 outlines eligible indirect costs. The circular can be accessed on the OMB web site.�

Q#9. On form HUD-424 item 15, what is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number for the Housing Counseling NOFAs?
A. The CDFA number for the housing counseling program is 14-169.
Q#10. Can a non-profit organization that provides training in the areas of:� pre-purchase, post purchase, predatory lending, and etc. to the local housing counseling agencies, apply for any these funds?
A. Training is not one of the eligible activities under the housing counseling NOFA.� The NOFA is really designed to support the direct provision of housing counseling services. We do, however, take the training of housing counseling agencies very seriously, and hope to compete funds for this purpose in the future.

In the description of eligible activities in the Comprehensive Counseling NOFA it says under Homebuyer Education that 'Agencies that provide this service must also offer individual counseling to complement group sessions.� Does this mean that if I only do seminars or workshops and refer people to someone else for one on one counseling I can get funded for this?

A. Yes.� We heard from several counseling agencies that were concerned with the quality of services offered by organizations that exclusively conducted group homebuyer education seminars/workshops.� To ensure the quality of services offered by HUD-funded counseling organizations, we have decided to require that agencies offer one-on-one counseling as a complement to group session seminars.
Q#12.���� In Factor 1 parts B it says "Justify your expenses from the previous fiscal year to show that they were reasonable, allowable, and appropriate for the counseling activities identified above."� What should I do to show that?

When reviewing applications, reviewers aren't necessarily looking for agencies with the lowest costs, or agencies that serve the most clients. Some agencies, for example, might think it is worth the extra money to hire a counselor with tremendous experience and accomplishments, someone who can serve as a mentor to more junior counselors in the office.� This is your chance to justify this type of expense.� Similarly, you may have spent a little extra on overhead in the previous year purchasing or upgrading computer equipment or investing in training for your counselors.� Use this opportunity to explain and justify these types of� variations in costs and expenses.

Q#13. In Factor 2 it says 'Applicants that fail to identify objective data will receive no points for this factor.'� Can you explain what qualifies as objective?��

The purpose here is to prevent applicants from speaking generally about need without backing up those claims with reliable quantitative data. We are looking for statistics from reliable sources, such as the U.S. Census' American Housing Survey, your community's Consolidated Plan, social science research, etc. that document the housing counseling-related needs in your community.

The following internet links provide objective data that can be used to demonstrate need�

  • The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published a report on their web site, entitled Out of Reach (was linked to http://www.nlihc.org/oor2002/index.htm), which provides statistics related to the affordable rental crisis in communities across the country. The data is searchable by geographic area, including MSA. HUD publishes data on fair market rents (was linked to http://www.huduser.org/datasets/fmr.html).
  • HUD's annual State of the Cities report (was linked to http://www.huduser.org/publications/polleg/tsoc.html) contains various data sets related to employment, wages, etc.
  • HUD's Neighborhood Watch system (was linked to https://entp.hud.gov/sfnw/public/) provides data on default and foreclosure rates in communities across the country.
  • The Census Bureau's web site (was linked to http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing.html) contains a link to the American Housing� Survey and data on various housing issues such as homeownership,� affordability, etc.
  • The Center for Urban Policy Research offers a comprehensive database on 77 American cities and suburbs (was linked to http://wyly.rutgers.edu/WylyWeb/Data/SONC30/sonc30.html), containing statistics related to employment, economic development, demographic measures, housing and land use, income and poverty, fiscal conditions, and a host of other health, environmental and social indicators.
Q#14. Since Factor 3 deals with proposed activities, what is to prevent an applicant from inflating projected numbers like clients served, or incorrectly projecting costs in the hopes of making their application stronger?

Last year's HUD form 9902 and answers to rating Factor 1 will help us evaluate your responses to this factor. If, for example, the proposed number of clients served is significantly greater than the actual number served in the past year, you need to clearly justify the increase by identifying new resources, a significant change in approach, etc. to account for the increase. Similarly, if estimated costs, time, and resources are significantly different from what you reported in Factor 1, clearly explain why.

Q#15. � In Factor 4 it says that I will get points awarded on the ratio of HUD funding requested to total housing counseling budget.� How do I show you what Total housing counseling budget is?
A. Total housing counseling budget should include all leveraged funds plus requested HUD funds. In addition to Factor 4, applicants are required to submit this type of budget information in form HUD-424, on page 2 (funding matrix), so factor 4 numbers should be consistent with those reported in the HUD form.
Q#16.�� Are the threshold requirements outlined in the general section covered by the standard forms, or do we need to submit certifications for each? Or by submitting our application are we certifying that we comply?
A. Applicants should submit a single certification indicating compliance with the set of threshold requirements found in the General Section of the Super NOFA.
Q#17.��� Some of the certifications in the General Section of the SuperNOFA do not seem applicable to my organization. Do I still need to complete them?
A. Applicants should only complete the certifications regarding conformance with Empowerment Zones (EZ), Enterprise Communities (EC), and Renewal Communities (RC) if they are applicable to the organization.

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Content Archived: November 20, 2010

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