There are many different kinds of training related to programs offered by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The National Center for Housing Management (NCHM) offers training primarily geared to those who currently work for organizations involved in overseeing or operating rental housing that is funded in one way or another by HUD or by two other federal agencies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Agriculture. Yes, the IRS and the Department of Agriculture have housing programs. More on that in a minute.
NCHM’s HUD training generally falls into one of two types: “Compliance” training, which teaches the rules and regulations that must be followed in operating HUD housing and “Property Management” training, which covers the day-to-day functions needed to make sure the properties are properly maintained and financially sound. These courses are best suited for employees that work either at the property level in jobs such as manager, assistant manager, maintenance superintendent, or compliance specialist or supervisory staff such as regional property managers, directors of compliance, and finance directors. They are also courses commonly taken by the employees of governmental and other agencies that oversee the properties.
In the Compliance area NCHM’s most attended course is Certified Occupancy Specialist (COS). COS teaches the very complicated rules involved in determining if an applicant household is eligible for housing under the HUD multifamily rental housing programs and, if they are eligible, how much rent they will pay. It sounds simple but since the amount of rent that is paid each month is determined by the household’s income there are numerous calculations that must be made and instructions that have to be followed correctly. COS, and its companion course Certified Occupancy Specialist – Public Housing (COSP), are often the first NCHM courses taken by those employed in HUD housing.
NCHM’s Certified Voucher Specialist (CVS) is HUD training that is similar to COS except that it focusses on the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program, a rental housing program usually administered by local public housing agencies. Anyone involved in administrating the HUD voucher program will want to start with CVS training.
Most people who take the COS, COS-P, or CVS program also take a course entitled Enterprise Income Verification Specialist (EIVS). EIV is the HUD-mandated system that must be used to verify an applicant’s income. Again, the rules are very detailed and failing to follow them can be costly to the owner of the property.
I mentioned that the IRS and the Department of Agriculture also operate rental housing programs. The IRS’s program is called the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and the Department of Agriculture oversees a number of programs that fall under the general description of “Rural Housing Programs.” Interestingly, most of these programs follow HUD rules and regulations when it comes to determining an applicant’s eligibility and calculating the applicant’s monthly rent. NCHM offers training covering these programs including Tax Credit Specialist (TCS), Rural Housing Specialist (RHS), and Blended Occupancy Specialist (BOS).
Virtually anyone who is involved in determining eligibility for HUD housing or housing offered through the IRS and department of Agriculture programs will need to take one of NCHM’s courses to advance in their careers. In fact, many employers require a certification either prior to, or soon after, hiring a new employee.
In the Property Management area, NCHM’s three core training programs are Certified Manager of Housing (CMH), Certified Manager of Maintenance (CMM) and Certified Financial Specialist (CFS). These three programs form the building blocks of skills needed to manage HUD and other types of rental housing. Again, you will find managers, assistant managers, compliance specialist, leasing agents and lead maintenance staff as the primary participants in NCHM’s property management courses, with supervisory staff rounding out the attendance.
Another type of training that is applicable to both federally assisted housing and private housing is training on fair housing law. Virtually every type of housing in America is covered by federal fair housing laws, including both rental and for-sale housing and both publicly funded and private housing. NCHM’s Fair Housing Specialist (FHS) training consists of nine hours of training and a certification test for those who must have an in-depth understanding of fair housing rules and regulations. Our Fair Housing Orientation and Fair Housing for Maintenance Staff Orientation classes are two-hour introductory classes that are online OnDemand classes for those who just need a general understanding of federal fair housing laws that pertain to rental housing (coming in Summer 2020).
HUD training isn’t limited to training on rental housing management. HUD operates a number of homeownership programs both directly and through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and other programs in areas such as community and economic development, homelessness, energy management, and fair lending. Training is available in these areas by numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and agencies and from HUD itself. You can find some of these programs at https://www.hudexchange.info/trainings/ and more about NCHM HUD training programs here at https://www.nchm.org/.