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What is CounselorMax?
it is the leading technology used by housing counselors to manage and report client case information to major intermediaries and HUD.
CounselorMax Case Study

CounselorMax - Tackling Americas Housing Challenges.  

Each year the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides over 40 Million dollars in grants to non-profit, community based counseling agencies that service low and moderate income families with the goal of creating sustainable homeownership. These counseling services are subcontracted to a nationwide network of organizations that employ trained Housing Counselors providing both pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling.

Before CounselorMax was created, one major problem faced by HUD was the inefficient and unreliable methods of tracking the results of the counseling services supported by the HUD grants. Housing counselors were frustrated by the large amount of clerical work they had to maintain (mostly by hand) in order to aggregate and report the services that they performed as well as the final outcomes of the counseling efforts. The inefficient process seriously reduced the number of clients a counselor could effectively serve as too many resources were being used to “count and document” every day’s events. In addition, the lack of standardized data collection procedures prevented HUD from being able to perform reasonable, reliable, periodic evaluations assessing the actual impact of the multi-million dollar grant program that is funded with tax payer dollars. To further skew the results reported to HUD, the required form, the 9902 report, was not well thought out and often interpreted differently from one agency to the next. During the early stages of the CounselorMax development, it became evident that there were serious questions about the reporting definitions, and that HUD needed to re-evaluate their requirements. All the stakeholders in the grant process were frustrated and there seemed to be solution in site.

In 2000 John D. Beneventi and Ron de Frates (the 5x Team) took on the seemingly insurmountable task changing the way housing counseling agencies implemented HUD grants. To understand the problems clearly, they began studying the process, spending countless hours observing how housing counselors did their work and understanding the types of data they were responsible for tracking. To make sure that all perspectives were considered, they reviewed different agencies affiliated with the national Council of La Raza (“NCLR”), as well as other large housing counseling organizations around the country. This study of the diverse processes allowed the team to use a “best practice” approach when committing to the data structure needed to be successful. In addition to efficiency, CounselorMax mirrors a best practice workflow process that helps Counselors make comprehensive, smart decisions, resulting in an increase in successful homeowners. In many cases, this was a first time home buying experience.

The solution that the team created was CounselorMax, a web based Client management system (“CMS”) that simplified and standardized the case data collection and reporting for housing counselors and administrators. No more stacks of hand written notes. No expensive servers and networks (if you can access the internet – you can use the application); a virtual aggregate database. Best of all, from this database, the HUD 9902 report was automatically calculated and completed as required.

  • Simple

  • Fast

  • Reliable

  • Inexpensive.

For HUD, Counselormax significantly improved the ability for all parties to review and analyze agency performance as the speed and accuracy of the data was being facilitated by an automated system. These performance audits are used for both grant measurement as well as QC of the agency. Managers from both HUD and the agency can easily measure the incremental progress of each counselor / case as well as the outcome of each counseling event. As a result of CounselorMax success, HUD is now able use this relational data from thousands of housing counseling agencies across the country to mobilize resources to respond to the nation’s housing needs faster and more effectively than ever before.

CounselorMax, as a work flow processing system, has simplified and incorporated “best practices” into the standard process that is used across the entire US market without the need for costly connectivity and networks. Ultimately, CounselorMax helped recapture time for housing counselors by putting an end to tedious paperwork, allowing them to focus on what they love most, helping people attain the American Dream of home ownership.