Apply for Certification

Before Applying

Please review all the requirements for eligibility and the step by step application guide. If you have questions, visit our frequently asked questions page and our glossary of terms. If you cannot find the answer to your question(s) on this site, you can contact us

 

You can also review the questions that will appear in the application in advance:

Download a copy of the DIRECT MODEL Certification Questions -- (EXCEL PDF) or (WORD doc)

Download a copy of the HYBRID MODEL Certification Questions -- (EXCEL PDF) or (WORD doc)

Download a copy of the THIRD PARTY MODEL Certification Questions -- (EXCEL PDF)

Step-By-Step Guide

If an organization is ready to begin the CORES application process, the organization should click on the link further down in the page to access the CORES application portal. The applicant will be required to register and set up an account and complete the pre-screen survey. The completed pre-screen survey will be reviewed by CORES. If the pre-screen is approved, the applicant will receive an email within 3-5 business days of completing the pre-screen with a link to the full application. The pre-screen approval is valid for up to 60 days.

The organization should use the link to access the full CORES Certification application. The applicant will be asked to use the same log in information that was used to set up the initial account during the pre-screen.  The applicant will fill out the application which is approximately 50 questions. The questions come in several formats – drop down; drop down/select all; text boxes; and specified attachments, which must be uploaded.

The applicant can save her/his work within the portal and access it later. At any time, the applicant can download a pdf version of the application and the applicant’s answers to review or have a copy in the organization’s files. We strongly recommend keeping copies for the applicant organization’s files.

For an organization to qualify for the certification, it must be able to provide answers and the accompanying required attachments to the following threshold questions and obtain a minimum score on the application questions. If an organization is unable to answer these threshold questions or provide the required supporting documents, the organization may NOT qualify for CORES certification.

  • An organization must fit one of the approved resident services coordination models ( Direct Resident Services Coordination Model, Hybrid Resident Services Coordination Model or Third Party Resident Services Coordination Model).
    • Application Question # 1 (Direct, Hybrid, and Third Party Model Applicants)
  • An organization must have experience in providing resident services coordination for a minimum of three years.
    • Application Question # 2 (Direct, Hybrid, and Third Party Model Applicants)
  • For Third Party Model Applicants: An organization must have a formalized contract in place with the owner of a property where it is operating.
    • Application Question #5 (Third Party Model Applicants)
       
  • An organization must provide regional/corporate oversight and management of the property-based resident service coordination and implementation.
    • Application Question #4 (Direct Model Applicant) or #4 and 6 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #8 and 9 (Third Party Model Applicant)
  • An organization must provide and oversee resident services coordination and have resident services coordination staff (either hired directly or through a third-party contractor) on-site at more than one affordable housing property. Organizations will be asked to describe the typical roles and responsibilities of the on-site coordinator.
    • Application Question #13 (Direct Model Applicant) or #15 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #18 (Third Party Model Applicant)
    • Required Attachment: Job Description/Scope of Work
  • As part of its resident services coordination process, an organization must utilize or complete a community scan prior to the delivery of services and programs.
    • Certification Application Question # 21 (Direct Model Applicant) or #22 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #26 (Third Party Model Applicant)
    • Required Attachment: Example Community Scan)
  • As a part of its resident services coordination process, an organization must perform resident opportunities & needs assessments at properties prior to delivery of services and programs.
    • Certification Application Question # 23 (Direct Model Applicant) or #24 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #28 (Third Party Model Applicant)
    • Required Attachment: Example Resident Opportunities & Needs Assessment Report - this should be for the same property as the Example Community Scan
  • As a part of its resident services coordination process, an organization must utilize the information gathered through the community scan and resident opportunities & needs assessment to design its property services plans.
    • Certification Application Question # 25 (Direct Model Applicant) or #26 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #29 (Third Party Model Applicant)
    • Required Attachment: Example Property Services Plan – this should be for the same property as the example Opportunities & Needs Assessment and the example Community Scan)
  • An organization must describe how it addresses low participation in a resident service program/activity. This should include how the organization analyzes why there is low participation and what the response is.
    • Certification Application Question # 37(Direct Model Applicant) or #39 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #43 (Third Party Model Applicant)
  • At a property level, an organization must track, analyze, and report the indicators resulting from its resident services efforts.
    • Certification Application Question # 43 (Direct Model Applicant) or #45 (Hybrid Model Applicant) or #48 (Third Party Model Applicant)
    • Required Attachment: Resident Indicators & Analysis Report for a Single Property - this should be for the same property as the Example Community Scan, Resident Opportunities & Needs Assessment, and Property Services Plan)

If an organization meets most of the requirements listed above, but is unable to meet ALL the requirements listed, the organization MAY qualify for a Provisional CORES Certification. Please contact CORES staff for more information.

Start Your Application

To get started on the application, please follow this link to register and complete the pre-screening.

Please make sure to use Chrome; Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox do not support this application well and you may have technical challenges.

Direct & Hybrid Model Applicants: Start Your CORES Application Today!

Third Party Model Applicants: Start Your CORES Application Today!

Download a copy of the DIRECT MODEL Certification Questions -- (EXCEL PDF) or (WORD doc)

Download a copy of the HYBRID MODEL Certification Questions  -- (EXCEL PDF) or (WORD doc)

Download a copy of the THIRD PARTY MODEL Certification Questions -- (EXCEL PDF)

CORES Portal Guidance

Download this PDF for step-by-step instructions on how to navigate the CORES Application Portal!

Application Review Process

Once the application is completed in the portal, it will be reviewed by CORES reviewers within 4-6 weeks using the following applicable rubric (depending on the applicant’s service delivery model):

All questions are scored on either a 0/1 or 0/1/2 point scale. To obtain full CORES certification (which applies to the organization’s entire portfolio and is valid for five years), an organization must score points on ALL threshold questions AND get a required minimum score on all other sections (as applicable to its service delivery model) AND score a minimum of 40 points across all the categories.

Click here to download the rubric summary.

CORES reviewers will score the application and write up an analysis of the certification application and provide a recommendation for either approval or denial to a three-member Peer Review Committee, who will make the final determination.

The members of the Peer Review Committee come from the Advisory Committee, which is made up of representatives  from different organizations and agencies including practitioners, funders, intermediaries, trainers, and consultants within the affordable housing and resident services fields.

The Peer Review Committee reviews the application and the CORES reviewer’s recommendation and make a final determination to either approve or deny the application. If approved, then the applicant will receive an email/letter notifying them of CORES certification. If the application is denied, applicants may request a summary analysis of their application and determine if they wish to appeal the decision.

Once certified, the CORES certification applies across the entire portfolio and is inclusive of family, senior and supportive housing communities.
 

Appealing CORES Certification Denial

An organization that has been denied certification may request a summary analysis and scoring of its application. After reviewing that analysis, if the organization determines it has been evaluated incorrectly (and that there was no misinterpretation of the requirements or questions), it can provide the necessary documentation for an appeal. The documentation should provide detailed evidence on the specific criteria that the organization is contending. This appeal will be reviewed by the full Peer Review Committee.

Applying for ERS Financing (Certified Organizations Only)

Fannie Mae Healthy Housing Rewards™ Enhanced Resident Services

Affordable housing owners/organizations may be applying for CORES Certification to qualify for access to Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards™ - Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) financing incentives.

Organizations interested in these incentives may apply for CORES Certification in advance of submitting a loan application or at the same time. We recommend completing the CORES Certification in advance of applying for financing, to allow plenty of time for the required review and approval process. Please keep in mind that the review process for CORES certification takes between 4 and 6 weeks.

To qualify for ERS financing incentives, an organization will be required to submit an ERS Property Certification Proposal through the CORES application portal. This application asks for detailed information about the property, the profile of the residents, and the applicant’s plan for resident services coordination at the property.

If the organization is already CORES certified, then the applicant will log in through the CORES application portal to access the ERS Property Certification Proposal. If the organization is not CORES certified, then the applicant must start the process of applying for CORES certification before they can access the ERS Certification proposal through the portal.  

The cost for the ERS Property Certification is $750. Applicants will be required to pay this fee in order to submit the application to the DUS lender. However, if approved for financing by Fannie Mae, the applicant will be reimbursed by Fannie Mae for this cost (to be coordinated with the originating lender and servicer).

how to receive ers benefit

 

To get an ERS Property Certification, applicants must be able to answer the following threshold questions about the property:

The organization must describe the relationship between the CORES certified organization and the property owner/borrower.

The organization needs to describe how community spaces and amenities and the overall design of the property meet the needs of the expected population.

The organization must provide a Community Scan for the community where the property will be or submit it in the first-year report.

The organization must provide a Resident Opportunities & Needs Assessment or submit it in the first-year report.

If relevant, the organization must describe if there are any nearby or co-located programs, services, and/or partners that provide ongoing support to the residents of the property that may mitigate some of the need for a more robust resident services staffing model at the property.

The organization must describe the roles of both the on-site resident services coordinators and corporate/regional resident-services staff that will support on-site staff at this property.

The organization must complete a budget template that shows the anticipated budget for resident services coordination and services for the property.

Download the ERS Certification
Application Questions

Annual Reporting

All properties that benefit from ERS financing incentives  must submit an annual report for the life of the loan with respect to the financed property that includes updated community scans, resident needs and opportunities assessments, resident services budgets, updates to the property services plan (if applicable), and reports on the impact of their resident services coordination efforts at the property. These reports will be submitted through the CORES application portal annually for a fee per ERS Property Report ($750 for organizations with Full Certification or $1,500 for organizations with Provisional Certification). This cost is not reimbursed by Fannie Mae.