When Dana Frisby passed her 90-question, 120-minute exam in July, she became the second counselor on Mt. Airy CDC staff to earn a certification from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Director of Housing Counseling Stephanie Butler passed her exam in Summer 2019. Dana’s news is equally as important as it is exciting.
The HUD certifications act as far more than just feathers in the organization’s cap — they’re indicators of continuing education within an important and evolving industry. They also guarantee that Mt. Airy CDC will qualify for funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) and the City of Philadelphia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), both of which come through HUD.
“Having the HUD certification validates the work and the knowledge we put into it,” said Ms. Butler, the program’s director.
HUD certification is an affirmation of work MACDC has done for years
For over 20 years, Mt. Airy CDC’s Housing Counseling program has served as a cornerstone of the organization, providing a valuable service to thousands of homeowners and renters. HUD’s new certification is the culmination of a curriculum that focuses on several topics germane to the home of the present day, including:
- Housing affordability
- Homeownership pre-purchase
- Obtaining tenancy, maintaining tenancy, and avoiding eviction
- Homeownership post-purchase
- Avoiding foreclosure
- Fair housing
“It was a rigorous training, like boot camp,” said Ms. Frisby of her recent study and test. “But being certified, I feel more equipped and able to help people than before.”
Only two-thirds of agencies in Pennsylvania have HUD-certified counselors, and the number is only 54% nationwide. Mt. Airy CDC is fortunate to have two, which strengthens the service the organization can provide. In addition to the HUD certification, Mt. Airy CDC is certified through separate training from Neighborworks America.
Some of the services Mt. Airy CDC’s Housing Counseling team provides include:
- First-time homebuyer workshops
- One-on-one pre- and post-purchase counseling
- Budget & credit counseling
- Default & delinquency (foreclosure prevention)
The team helped a number of residents with their applications for Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance, and is looking to incorporate additional programs for renters.
The other members of the Housing Counseling team include Michelle Lofton, who coordinates intake (in addition to her role as Mt. Airy CDC’s Events Coordinator), Cynthia Bradley, who facilitates workshops, Sharon Kim, who as the Managing Director helps plan and strategize, Rhonell Davis, who provides data support when not on active duty in the US Army National Guard, and Brad Copeland, Mt. Airy CDC’s Executive Director.
To learn more about Mt. Airy CDC’s Housing Counseling program, please go HERE.