Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Financial Education and Counselling Services (CA-FEC) 6: Housing Counselling and Education Services

The organization provides housing counselling and education services to inform and prepare the client for achieving and maintaining homeownership.
NA The organization does not provide any housing counselling and education services.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Clients who receive Financial Education and Counselling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
Note: Organizations seeking accreditation as a Housing Counselling and Education program must complete this section in addition to all other applicable standards in this section.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Housing counselling procedures
  • Table of contents of educational program curricula
  • Sample housing education materials provided to clients
  • Educational program curricula
  • Information about individual and group counselling and education programs including program dates, subjects, number of participants, and participant evaluations
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files

 

CA-FEC 6.01

The organization provides clients with pre-purchase homebuying counselling and education that includes:
  1. developing a budget that identifies projected costs of homeownership to help assess readiness to purchase a home;
  2. the benefits and responsibilities of owning a home;
  3. an overview of the homebuying and mortgage loan process;
  4. how to calculate the affordability of owning a home, including the impact of debt; and
  5. the importance of setting financial goals and maintaining good credit.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counselling and education.
Examples: Regarding element (d), counsellors can help clients understand the impact of debt on mortgage affordability, including, for example credit card, personal, consumer, and student loan debt.

 

CA-FEC 6.02

Clients receive counselling and education regarding home financing that address:
  1. appropriate types and sources of mortgage loans;
  2. understanding how lenders evaluate credit and determine mortgage readiness;
  3. how to avoid predatory loans;
  4. resources available to assist with home purchases;
  5. what to do if the loan is denied; and
  6. loan closing costs and procedures.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counselling and education.
Examples: The organization can review the client’s credit report, when available, to provide a greater understanding of how lenders evaluate credit and determine mortgage readiness.

 

CA-FEC 6.03

Education and counselling prepare clients to shop for and select a home by providing information about:
  1. the professionals involved in the real estate and homebuying process;
  2. making an offer;
  3. having a purchase contract;
  4. home inspections; and
  5. escrow funds.
NA The organization does not provide pre-purchase homebuying counselling and education.

 

CA-FEC 6.04

Housing education and counselling address home maintenance and financial management topics including:
  1. homeowner rights and responsibilities;
  2. organizations that provide resources to assist with financial issues;
  3. costs associated with utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance;
  4. energy efficiency;
  5. community involvement;
  6. refinancing, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, and home improvement loans; and
  7. calculating home equity.
NA The organization does not provide home maintenance counselling and education.

 

CA-FEC 6.05

Clients receive information to prevent or resolve mortgage delinquency that addresses, as applicable:
  1. identification of the status of the client’s mortgage;
  2. a budget that includes a review of income, living expenses, and other debts;
  3. the repercussions of a defaulted mortgage and foreclosure;
  4. the client’s options to resolve the mortgage crisis; and
  5. services available that can provide assistance and relief for the client’s current crisis.
NA The organization does not provide mortgage delinquency counselling and education.

 

CA-FEC 6.06

The organization provides information regarding rental options, including:
  1. HUD rental, rent subsidy programs, and other federal, provincial, and/or local assistance;
  2. fair housing;
  3. landlord tenant laws;
  4. lease terms;
  5. rent delinquency; and
  6. housing search resources.
NA The organization does not provide rental counselling and education.

 

CA-FEC 6.07

Clients receive counselling and education regarding reverse equity mortgages that includes:
  1. the benefits and disadvantages of a reverse equity mortgage;
  2. client eligibility;
  3. payment options;
  4. the fees and associated costs of the reverse equity mortgage product;
  5. time sensitivity issues related to the mortgage; and
  6. indicators for foreclosure, such as death, sale of the property, or insurance or tax delinquency.
NA The organization does not provide reverse equity mortgage counselling.

 

CA-FEC 6.08

Organizations assist homeless individuals, as needed, and provide information and services, either directly or through referral, regarding transitional housing, emergency shelters, and other emergency services.