On July 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published its Interim Final Rule on its website to announce a delay in the deadline for housing counselors to become HUD certified. The pause is meant to ensure that vital housing counseling services remain available to the nation’s homebuyers and renters, particularly those who need housing and mortgage assistance to recover financially from the effects of the COVID-19 emergency. The Interim Final Rule will be subsequently published for comment in the Federal Register.

This effort was led by many advocates and stakeholders, including Senator Tina Smith. U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) says that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson heeded her call to extend the August 1, 2020 deadline for housing counselor certification for HUD’s Housing Counseling Assistance Program by at least one year. Smith led a group of Senators in pressing Secretary Carson for this extension so that counseling agencies can continue to get members of their organization certified. Many agencies would have been unable to complete this process before August 1 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and therefore risked losing HUD funding.

“I fought for this extension to prevent a disruption in the delivery of housing counseling services in communities across the country,” said Sen. Smith. “These services are important, and will be in greater demand as temporary protections for homeowners and renters expire. It is vital that community organizations receive the resources necessary to help households maintain stable housing.” — Senator Tina Smith

The Senators who signed the letter are:

Senator Tina Smith (D-MN)
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA)
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA)
Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ)

You may view Senator Tina Smith’s letter to HUD here: https://www.hsgcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Sen-Tina-Smith.20-07-10.HUDHousingCounselingDeadline.pdf

You may read Senator Tina Smith’s full press release here: https://www.smith.senate.gov/urging-us-senator-tina-smith-hud-secretary-ben-carson-extends-critical-deadline-housing-counseling