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about housing counseling

Common Questions and Answers About Housing Counseling

To find a housing counseling agency near you please call 800-569-4287 (202-708-1455 TTY) or search online.

HUD certified housing counselors working at HUD's network of participating housing counseling agencies offer independent, expert advice customized to your housing needs. They can help you understand and address housing barriers and help you achieve your housing goals. HUD participating housing counseling agencies also offer classroom style workshops and online education. Not all HUD participating housing counseling agencies offer all types of counseling services.

What kind of housing counseling services are available?

Types of housing counseling services include:

  • Financial management, budget and credit counseling and workshops
  • Fair housing education workshops
  • Home improvement and rehabilitation counseling
  • Mortgage delinquency and default resolution counseling and workshops (foreclosure)
  • Non-delinquency post purchase workshops
  • Pre-purchase counseling and homebuyer education workshops
  • Predatory lending education workshops
  • Rental counseling and workshops (eviction, landlord tenant disputes, Section 8)
  • Reverse mortgage counseling (HECM)
  • Homeless counseling 
  • Disaster preparation and mitigation counseling and workshops

Can I search online for a housing counseling agency? 

Yes, you can search online using HUD's housing counseling search tool or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) search tool.

Can I call toll free and talk to a live operator to help me find housing help? 

Yes, you can call 800-569-4287 (202-708-1455 TTY) to speak to a live operator for assistance in finding a HUD participating housing counseling agency near you.

Is housing counseling available in other languages? 

Yes, when you call 800-569-4287 (202-708-1455 TTY) you can speak to a live operator in a wide variety of languages. You can specify your preferred language when selecting a HUD participating housing counseling agency. You can also search online for HUD participating housing counseling agencies offering services in languages other than english.

Can housing counseling help me if my home has been affected by a disaster? 

Yes, when you call 800-569-4287 (202-708-1455 TTY) press 5 to be connected to disaster counseling help. HUD also has a webpage with information on disaster help.

Do HUD participating housing counseling agencies offer online and telephone counseling? 

Yes, HUD participating housing counseling agencies may offer secure online and telephone counseling. You can search on-line for using HUD's housing counseling search tool for HUD participating housing counseling agencies that offer your prefered method of counseling. 

Is there a charge for housing counseling?

Foreclosure, eviction, and homeless counseling are always free. Other types of counseling and workshops may be offered for a nominal, reasonable and customary fee. HUD participating housing counseling agencies must waive any fee the client cannot afford to pay. Any fees must be disclosed prior to the beginning of housing counseling. 

Can a HUD participating housing counseling agency help me even if I am disabled? 

Yes, all HUD participating housing counseling agencies must accommodate disabled clients in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Can a HUD participating housing counseling agency help me if I feel I am a victim of housing discrimination?

Yes, they can help you file a housing discrimination complaint. You can also file a complaint online or by telephone.

Where can I find more information on Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers?

The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market, including single family homes, townhomes and apartments. Visit Housing Choice Vouchers for more information

How do I contact my local Public Housing Authority (PHA)? 

Please visit HUD's website for a list of local Public Housing Agencies.

There are no housing counseling agencies in my neighborhood. Are there agencies that can help me? 

HUD also has HUD participating housing counseling agencies that serve rural and remote areas. They are called "HUD Approved National Intermediaries and State Housing Finance Agencies". View a list online to contact an HUD participating housing counseling agency that serves your area.

What is a HUD certified housing counselor? 

A HUD certified housing counselor has passed a HUD certification examination. They are certified by HUD as competent to provide housing counseling services. They must also work for a HUD participating housing counseling agency. 

What is a HUD participating housing counseling agency?

They are qualified nonprofit or government housing agencies that participate in HUD's housing counseling program, agree to comply with all HUD program requirements, and provide housing counseling services to housing counseling clients. 

How do I know if an entity is a HUD participating housing counseling agency?

Use our search tool to see if they appear on HUD's list of participating HUD participating housing counseling agencies or send us an email to inquire.

Who is a client? 

Clients are individuals or households who seek assistance from a HUD participating housing counseling agency to meet a housing need or resolve a housing problem.

Must I use the products and services offered by the housing counseling agency to obtain counseling? 

No, HUD participating housing counseling agencies cannot condition your ability to obtain housing counseling on use of any products or services they, their affiliates, or their community partners offer. 

What is the difference between housing counseling and an education workshop? 

Housing counseling addresses a client’s unique financial circumstances or housing issues and focuses on ways of overcoming specific obstacles to achieving a client’s housing goal(s). Housing counseling consists of independent, expert advice customized to the need(s) of the client and includes intake, financial and housing affordability analysis, an action plan (except for reverse mortgage counseling), and a reasonable effort to have follow-up communication with the client when possible. An educational or homeownership workshop is not housing counseling. Workshops provide a general  overview of housing subjects, typically delivered in a group classroom or online setting. A workshop can help you prepare you for housing counseling.

What if I have more questions about housing counseling?

Please email us at housing.counseling@hud.gov or call toll free 800-569-4287 (202-708-1455 TTY).