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DS News_February_2023

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Page 68 of 83

67 67 67 INVESTMENT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY PRESERVATION Journal Follow Us At: @DSNewsDaily HUD SEEKS TO EXPAND HOUSING COUNSELING TO TRIBAL AREAS e U.S. Department of Housing and Ur- ban Development's (HUD) Office of Housing Counseling has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register outlining housing counselor certification requirements for housing counsel- ing conducted in connection with the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and the Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICD- BG) programs. When final, HUD expects that the rule will help expand the number of certified housing counselors serving Tribal communities. HUD intends to conduct additional Tribal consultations before issuing a final rule in the future. "is proposed rule is important to strengthening the participation of Tribes and Tribal organizations in HUD's housing counseling program," said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commis- sioner Julia Gordon. "Having counselors who understand the unique needs of those residing in Tribal communities will help increase access to homeownership for Tribes whose members have long been underserved by the mortgage market." e Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 required that all housing counseling conducted under HUD programs be carried out by HUD-certified housing counselors. HUD delayed the applica- bility of this certification requirement to HUD's Native American Housing Programs so that it could conduct consultation with Tribal leaders. is consultation was to ensure that the unique needs and conditions of Tribal Nations were considered in HUD's execution of its certifi- cation responsibilities under the Dodd-Frank statute. e proposed rule was developed following multiple Tribal consultation and listening ses- sions where Tribes provided input and feedback on HUD's existing housing counselor certifica- tion requirements and the ways in which they should be tailored to meet Tribal needs. "It is thanks to the outstanding partner- ship with HUD's Office of Native American Programs and the strong engagement by Tribal representatives during the consultation sessions that we have arrived at a set of proposals to more fully integrate the unique needs of Tribal entities into our housing counseling certification and approval processes," said HUD Deputy Assis- tant Secretary for Housing Counseling David Berenbaum. rough the proposed rule, HUD will: • Adjust certain components of HUD's current housing counselor certification exam specifically for Tribes, including adjust- ments for distinctions in fair housing laws pertaining to Tribes and the unique status of trust land; • Recommend additional training for counselors who become certified to provide housing counseling for the IHBG and ICDBG programs; • Modify study materials for housing counsel- or certification examinations to account for tailored content specific to Tribes; and • Require that housing counseling that is funded with or provided in connection with IHBG or ICDBG funds is performed by individuals who are HUD certified. Public comments on the proposed rule are open through March 27, 2023, via the submis- sion methods outlined in the Federal Register.

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