Frequently Asked Questions

You can find additional help in our glossary.

  • Who reviews the application?

    The application will be reviewed for completion and then scored by staff at CORES.  Once scored, staff will create an application summary memo that will include: the scoring rubric, application summary, and provide either an approval or denial recommendation to a Peer Review Committee. All applications and application summary memos will get a secondary review by another CORES staff member. This recommendation will be reviewed by a second staff member for concurrence and then will be sent to a Peer Review Committee which will make final determination on CORES application approval or denial.

  • What level of resident services staffing is required for CORES?

    CORES certifies organizations that provide resident services in line with a robust coordination system. This is inclusive of both organizational/corporate level resident services staff and dedicated frontline resident services staff (working onsite at properties). 

    Organizational / Corporate Level Resident Services Staff: Dedicated staff who are responsible for the oversight and support of frontline resident services staff and systems. The number of organizational level staff (and their responsibilities) will vary depending on the scale of the organization. Typical responsibilities and duties may include: oversight and/or support for frontline resident services staff; training and capacity building for resident services coordinators; providing quality assurance on data collection, resident outcomes data tracking and analysis; managing the implementation of scaled resident services tools and systems; and development of partnerships, grants management and/or other fundraising.

    Frontline Resident Services Staff: Dedicated frontline staff engage directly with residents. Typical responsibilities and duties may include: building relationships and trust, identifying resident priorities and needs, coordinating programs and services, providing coaching support, making referrals, and tracking service impact.

    While we refer to this role most often as ‘resident services coordinator’, this function may also be inclusive of coaches, case managers, FSS coordinators, youth specialists, workforce development and housing stability coordinators, and/or other resident engagement staff. While resident services staff should be deeply collaborative with property management staff, the resident services coordinator role is distinct from the property operations and compliance priorities that property management staff typically focuses on.

    The Framework or a System of Resident Services, on which CORES was built, recognizes the essential role that dedicated on-site, frontline resident services staff play in building and maintaining relationships and trust with residents, in addition to the coordination of programs and provision of referrals. CORES also recognizes the value of virtual tools, platforms, and supports to enhance service delivery and resident engagement, but considers on-site engagement a crucial part of a robust system of service coordination. CORES does not certify fully virtual resident services staffing models.

     

    CORES has looked at industry resident services staffing standards to help identify minimum practices in frontline staffing ratios.

    • HUD guidance (p.16) calls for a minimum ratio of 1 FTE:50-100 residents in their Multifamily Housing Program (assisting seniors and persons with disabilities). 
    • HUD Guidance on the 2024 Notice of Funding (p.22) calls for 1 FTE:50-60 elderly residents or residents with disabilities. It further specifies that properties with fewer than 40 units can justify .5 FTE, properties with 80-120 units can justify 1.5 FTEs, and properties with 120+ units can justify 2 FTEs. 
    • Corporation for Supportive Housing has identified a minimum staffing ratio of 1 FTE:10-25 Residents in Permanent Supportive Housing models.
    • HUD (p.5) has identified a caseload of 1 FTE:25-50 residents for FSS Coordinators operating the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program  
    • For Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards – Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) program, CORES has identified a minimum of 1 FTE:150 households (1 FTE is defined as 40 hours per week).  Please see “ERS Staffing Models” for further guidance.

     

     


    In addition, CORES aggregates data that is provided by applicants at the time of their application to better understand the level of frontline staffing across organizational portfolios. The data is collected both from owner-operators seeking the certification under the Direct or Hybrid models and from organizations that have been certified under the Third-party model.

    CORES Organizations Staffing 
    As of April 30, 2024:

    • 73% of properties in the portfolio of CORES certified organizations (both owner-operators and third-party providers) have some level of resident services coordination support (inclusive of on-site, off-site, and/or virtual supports) 
    • For properties with resident services coordination support, 83.3% of these properties have dedicated onsite resident services staff (PT or FT)
  • ERS Annual Report Required Attachments

    In addition to questions about the current resident services at the property, the ERS annual report requires the application to upload the following up-to-date attachments:

    • Community Scan (updated at least once every six years)
    • Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment (updated at least once every three years)
    • Property Services Plan (updated at least once every three years)
    • Resident Services Property Budget (updated annually)
    • Active, Executed MOU/formalized contract with an External Service Partner for this Property
    • Resident Indicators and Analysis Report that includes Resident Outcomes Data (updated annually). Please Note: While we recognize program enrollment and participation as important outputs to track for most practitioners, these are not outcomes measures.

      Note: Fannie Mae is requiring ERS financed properties to report three outcomes indicators of the owner/applicant's choice that align to the Property Services Plan and help demonstrate the impact of resident services. Organizations are required to select three outcomes measures in the first ERS Annual Report for the property and then report on these same measures, starting in their second ERS annual report, for the lifetime of the HHR-ERS loan. We recommend referencing this outcomes framework list as a resource when selecting outcomes measures, although applicants can propose alternative measures for review and approval by CORES staff.

    • For ERS Properties implementing a Hybrid Resident Services Coordination Model: The organization must provide a copy of an approved resident services contract that demonstrates that the CORES-certified organization/owner is contracting with a third-party provider for the provision of resident service coordination (staffing) at the property. This contract should address: (1) SOW/Roles and Responsibilities, (2) Staffing Plan, (3) Use of Space, (4) Goals/Evaluation, (5) Terms and Compensation, (6) Insurance Requirements and Indemnification, and (7) Sharing of Resident Data. 

    Properties with Third-Party Resident Services Coordination must also upload the following up-to-date attachments: 

    • The organization must provide a current, executed MOU/contract between CORES-certified organization and Property owner/borrower and (2) a signed letter from the owner/borrower affirming that they continue to partner with you (the CORES certified applicant) for the provision of resident services at this property and certifying that you are approved to submit the ERS annual report on their behalf. The MOU/contract should address: (1) SOW/Roles and Responsibilities, (2) Staffing Plan, (3) Use of Space, (4) Goals/Evaluation, (5) Terms and Compensation, (6) Insurance Requirements and Indemnification, and (7) Sharing of Resident Data.
    • The organization must provide a signed letter from the owner/borrower affirming that the owner is partnering with the CORES certified applicant for the provision of resident services coordination at this property and certifying that the CORES certified third-party provider (applicant) is approved to submit this ERS Property report on their behalf.  
    • The completed budget form requires a signature from the owner/borrower prior to upload. 
  • ERS Property Certification Proposal Threshold Questions

    To qualify for the ERS Property Certification, applicants must be able to answer the following threshold questions about the property in their Proposal:

    • The organization must describe how community spaces, amenities, and the design of the property meets the needs of the expected resident population.
    • The organization must provide neighborhood/ community level data for the property. Applicants will be asked to provide a Community Scan if completed. The Community Scan will be required in the first ERS Annual Report.
    • The organization must provide resident demographics for the property, if available. Applicants will be asked to provide a Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment if completed. The Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment will be required in the first ERS Annual Report.
    • 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 provide the proposed resident services staffing plan for this property (number of resident services staff supporting this property, projected number of hours of resident services coordination support through onsite/property level resident services staff, regional support, and any virtual supports). The proposed staffing model for this property must meet or exceed the minimum staffing ratio for ERS financed properties of 1 FTE: 150 households (1 FTE is defined as 40 hours per week). Please click here for additional guidance on ERS staffing model requirements.
    • The organization must describe if there are any nearby or co-located programs, services, and/or partners that are being considered part of the core on-site staffing and services model.
    • The organization must complete a budget template (provided by CORES) that shows the anticipated budget for resident services coordination and services for the property. The budget should incorporate the projected Fannie Mae's Healthy Housing Rewards™ ERS annual discount and the additional resources the owner has committed or identified to support an enhanced level of resident services coordination. 

    Properties with Third-Party Resident Services Coordination must also answer the following additional threshold questions in their Proposal:

    • The organization must describe the relationship between the Third-Party CORES Certified resident services provider (applicant) and property owner/borrower.
    • The organization must provide a copy of an approved resident services contract between the Third-Party CORES Certified resident services provider (applicant) and the property owner/borrower. This contract should address: (1) SOW/Roles and Responsibilities, (2) Staffing Plan, (3) Use of Space, (4) Goals/Evaluation, (5) Terms and Compensation, (6) Insurance Requirements and Indemnification, and (7) Sharing of Resident Data.
    • The organization must provide a signed letter from the owner/borrower affirming that the owner is partnering with the CORES certified applicant for the provision of resident services coordination at this property and certifying that the CORES certified third-party provider (applicant) is approved to submit this ERS Property Proposal on their behalf.
    • The completed budget form requires a signature from the owner/borrower prior to upload. 
    If your organization is CORES certified under the Direct Model, but you are working with a partner that will be providing the frontline resident services staff at an ERS-financed property, please contact CORES staff to determine if you meet the ERS property certification threshold requirements.
  • Recertification Application Timeline Guidance

    Recertification Timeline Guidance and Deadlines:

    • Applicants must begin the application process by submitting their recertification pre-screen application 12 weeks in advance of the certification expiration date.  
    • Applicants must submit the complete recertification application at least 6 weeks in advance of the certification expiration date, to avoid a lapse in certification. However, we recommend that applicants submit their full application at least 8 weeks in advance of their certification expiration. Applications received less than 6 weeks in advance of the certification expiration date will be considered late. Given the length of the internal and external application review processes, late submissions cannot be processed in less than 6 weeks, and the applicant’s certification will lapse. 
      NOTE: If an application is received at least 6 weeks in advance of the expiration date and meets the requirements for recertification, but the review and processing time takes more than 6 weeks, the applicant will not see a lapse in certification. Applications that are incomplete, that require significant updates to their application, and/or do not meet the requirements for recertification may not qualify for an extension of their certification.  

    Organizations may initiate the application process for recertification no sooner than 6 months (24 weeks) in advance of their certification expiration date to ensure plenty of time. 

     

    Example Recertification Timeline:

    Org's Initial Certification Date: June 15, 2018  

    Org’s Certification Expiration Date: June 15, 2023 (5 years)  

    Example Recertification Application Submission TimelineRecertification Submission Date  
    You may choose to initiate the application process for recertification as early as 6 months (24 weeks) in advance of your certification expiration, but not earlier 

    Starting December 29th 2022  

    (24 weeks in advance of expiration)   

    We require that you submit a recertification pre-screen application 3 months (12 weeks) in advance of the certification expiration date  

    March 23rd 2023  

    (12 weeks in advance of expiration)  

    We recommend that you submit your application for recertification at least 8 weeks in advance of your certification expiration  

    April 20th 2023  

    (8 weeks in advance of expiration)  

    We require that you submit your application for recertification at least 6 weeks in advance of your certification expiration  

    May 4th 2023  

    (6 weeks in advance of expiration)  

    Submissions received later than 6 weeks in advance of your certification expiration will be late. This application will still be reviewed, but cannot be processed in advance of your renewal date; and your certification will lapse.  

    After May 4th 2023  

    (Less than 6 weeks in advance of expiration)  

  • Recertification Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible for CORES recertification, there are ADDITIONAL MINIMUM SCORING REQUIREMENTS and an ADDITIONAL THRESHOLD REQUIREMENT in addition to the threshold requirements that were required at initial certification. For an organization to qualify for recertification it must be able to demonstrate they meet the following threshold requirements and meet minimum scoring requirements. If an organization is unable to meet the threshold requirements, meet the minimum scoring requirements, or provide the required application documents, the organization WILL NOT qualify for CORES recertification. 

    • The organization must still meet the initial CORES certification threshold requirements.
    • For each of the four Key Property-Level Documents (Community Scan, Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment, Property Service Plan, and Resident Indicators and Analysis Report), the organization must demonstrate use of these documents/tools and provide examples of each at two properties: (1) an updated example of each document/tool from the initial CORES application property and (2) an up-to-date example of each document/tool for one additional property in the organization's portfolio.
    • The organization must utilize community-level data to achieve certification. The applicant must clearly articulate what types of community-level data are considered/assessed AND also how community level data is used to inform & assist with program/service planning (i.e., census data, local school data, data from local government agencies, etc.). Community data should already be captured in the applicant's Community Scan.
    • The organization must demonstrate that they are collecting and tracking resident OUTCOMES, not only outputs such as participation or the number of referrals provided. This should be captured in the Resident Indicators and Analysis Report.
    • The organization must include an example of an executed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or formal written agreement with a partner organization from the last three years and this agreement should address the following elements: (1) Roles and Responsibilities for each Party; (2) Participation Targets/Expectations; (3) Goals for Outcomes/Impact; (4) Data Sharing (if applicable); and (5) Insurance and Liability. This agreement does not have to be in place at the same two properties used for the other four property-level threshold documents/tools (i.e., Community Scan, Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment, Property Services Plan, or Resident Indicators and Analysis Report). 
  • ERS Staffing Models

    Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards™  - Enhanced Resident Services ™ (ERS) program provides financing incentives for properties where an owner has committed to providing a robust system of resident services coordination either through its own CORES-certified resident services infrastructure or through a CORES-certified third party. As part of the ERS proposal, applicants are asked to provide information about the property, the surrounding community (neighborhood amenities and data), resident demographics (if available), a proposed property-level resident services staffing model (and any virtual supports that may be part of this), a description of how resident services and property management will interact and collaborate, a description of any co-located programs or existing partnership that may be leveraged, and a proposed budget.  

      

    For the ERS staffing model -- CORES has identified a target of a minimum of 1 FTE:150 households for ERS financed properties (1 FTE is defined as 40 hours per week). This ratio was developed in recognition of existing industry resident services staffing standards (i.e. HUD guidance (p.16) calls for a minimum ratio of 1 FTE:50-100 residents in their Multifamily Housing Program (assisting seniors and persons with disabilities) and Corporation for Supportive Housing has identified a minimum staffing ratio of 1 FTE:10-25 Residents in Permanent Supportive Housing models. The ERS target ratio of 1 FTE to 150 households recognizes that ERS financed properties serve a range of populations with varying levels of need, but still ensures a robust level of service coordination support for residents. Please note - CORES does not certify fully virtual resident services delivery models. 

      

    The evaluation of ERS staffing plans takes into account (1) # of hours of property level staff and # of hours of virtual support, (2) # hours/level of support to the property from regional/corporate offices , (3) whether or not there are co-located programs/partners and/or existing partners that operate onsite regularly (such as a partner operating an afterschool program, dining program, or a health clinic), and (4) identification of populations that may require higher levels of engagement (based on community level data and/or property level data provided). 

  • What is involved in the CORES application process?

    For detailed information on how to apply for CORES and a description of the application process, see our Step by Step Guide

  • How does applying for the CORES certification relate to the application process for Fannie Mae's Healthy Housing Rewards™ - Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) product enhancement?

    An application for CORES Certification may be submitted by an organization in advance of loan application or at the same time.

    An organization seeking financing through Fannie Mae’s Healthy Housing Rewards™ initiative must also submit an ERS Property Certification Application in connection with its loan application. Owners should consult with their Fannie Mae Delegated Underwriting and Servicing DUS™ lender for further guidance.

     

     

    Listen to the components of an ERS proposal, ERS reporting requirements, the ERS reporting cycle, and underwriting resident services expenses by visiting the CORES YouTube playlist, Applying for Fannie Mae Healthy Housing Rewards™ Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) Financing.

    You can also listen to the full webinar to learn more about Fannie Mae's Healthy Housing Rewards - Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) program, the requirements for qualifying for ERS financing, the ERS Property-level certification, and the annual reporting requirements for the ERS program.

    2022 Webinar Recording and Webinar Slides

    Learn more about Fannie Mae's investment in the social determinants of health through the Healthy Housing Rewards Initiative. Fannie Mae discusses the initiative as a part of the National Housing Conference's Restoring Neighborhoods webinar series.

     

    How to receive ERS benefits
    CORES vs. ERS Cert.
  • How is a CORES application scored?

    For CORES Certification, all questions are scored on either a 0/1 or 0/1/2  point scale. To obtain full CORES certification, 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.

    You may download our rubric summary at our website under the Application Review Process section.

  • Is there an appeals process?

    All applicants may request a summary analysis of their application once the review process is complete. If the organization has been denied certification, it 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 Pool.

  • What is the Peer Review Committee?

    All CORES applications are first reviewed by at least two CORES staff and then advance for review by an external Peer Review Committee. Each committee of three reviewers is pulled from a larger pool of Peer Reviewers who all have expertise in resident services and affordable housing. This committee will make the final determination for each application.

     

  • How will CORES make sure to include perspectives from the resident services and affordable housing fields?

    An Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from different organizations and agencies including practitioners, funders, intermediaries, trainers, and consultants within the affordable housing and resident services fields, will be formed to provide feedback on the certification process, its effectiveness, and any additional resources needed. Members of this group will also be asked to serve, on a rotating basis, on an ad hoc Peer Review Committee to review and provide final approval for certifications.

      

  • Who can apply for CORES certification?

    The certification program is designed to identify owner-operators of multifamily affordable properties and service organizations working in multifamily affordable properties that provide resident services provision in line with a robust coordination system.

    A resident services coordination system refers to all functions tied to the organizational mission to implement resident services in affordable rental housing properties, including corporate and site-based staff, funding, technology systems, services and programs, research and evaluation, organizational knowledge, and the tools necessary to support resident services.

    To be eligible for CORES Certification, an organization must fit one of the following models for providing resident services coordination and this system must be scaled at multiple properties:

    [Owner-Operator] Direct Model – Affordable housing owners/organizations that retain direct responsibility for the management, delivery, and implementation of Resident Service Coordination at their own properties. 

    [Owner-Operator} Hybrid Model – Affordable rental housing owners/organizations that contract with an unrelated third-party entity (either a property management company or another services organization) to staff the on-site property-based resident services coordinators/staff, but otherwise retain leadership, management, and support capacity for resident services coordination at their properties.

    Third-Party Resident Services Coordination Contractor Model – An owner of affordable housing may contract with an external (third-party) organization to provide all aspects of resident services coordination. This includes the management, delivery, and implementation of Resident Services Coordination at the property level and corporate/regional levels. An organization that falls into this model may provide third-party services for one owner or for multiple owners.

    Please note: If interested in seeking certification under both the Direct and Third-Party models, please contact CORES for more information about the Streamlined Third-Party application option. 


    While an organization does not need to offer a CORES-level of resident services coordination or have resident services staff at ALL properties within their portfolio, it must be able to demonstrate that this CORES-level of infrastructure and implementation is in place at multiple properties within their portfolio.

    Please see threshold requirements for additional information.

  • What happens if the organization is NOT approved for CORES certification?

    In situations where an organization is denied CORES certification, the organization will receive a copy of the scoring analysis with comments and recommendations. This will address the elements in an organization’s resident services coordination program that do not meet the requirements for CORES certification. The organization will have the opportunity to address these areas in its program model and reapply again after 12 months.

     

    If the organization believes its application was not reviewed or scored accurately, the organization may appeal the decision.

  • What is the cost to apply for CORES certification?

    The non-refundable application fee for CORES certification is $5,500. If certified, this fee covers the five-year CORES certification. Payment will be required before the application can be submitted for review. Credit card payments/Paypal account payments via PayPal is the preferred forms of payments.

    *Streamlined* Third-Party Resident Services Coordination Certification -- This option has been developed for organizations that operate under a Direct Model, but have also developed a business of providing Third Party Resident Services Coordination services to other owners. This pathway allows applicants to use portions of their first application under the Direct model (where questions/answers are applicable) in their Third Party Model application. The cost for this second application is $2,750. To qualify for this option, an organization must first successfully apply for CORES under the Direct model. Once the applicant has been certified under the Direct model, they can seek Third-Party Certification through a streamlined application within six months after their Direct Model certification is received (an organization may still apply for the Third Party Model after these six months, but will not be able to use the streamlined application to do so). If interested in this pathway, please contact CORES staff for more information (at [email protected]).

    Please note: Currently, Fannie Mae will reimburse the initial CORES certification fee ($5,500) to certified owners/sponsors (Direct and Hybrid model organizations) who are participating in their Healthy Housing Rewards - Enhanced Resident Services  (ERS) program. There are additional fees for submitting a Healthy Housing Rewards - Enhanced Resident Services Property Certification Application.

  • Who will have access to the materials submitted through the CORES application?

    Only CORES reviewers will have access to the materials submitted for certification through the CORES application. If the applicant indicates its intention to also apply for the Fannie Mae Healthy Housing Rewards - Enhanced Resident Services (ERS) financing incentives, SAHF will share the applicant's name with Fannie Mae. If the applicant qualifies for and receives Fannie Mae ERS incentives, then information provided by the applicant will become available to Fannie Mae.

  • Are there different types of CORES certifications for organizations that serve a variety of populations (e.g. family, senior, supportive housing)?

    No, the CORES certification will apply to all types of service-enriched housing. Applying organizations only need to submit one application for certification, even if they provide resident services coordination at a variety of property types.

  • Are there required documents that must be provided to apply for CORES certification?

    The CORES certification application prompts the applicant to submit several documents throughout the application process. These documents provide the reviewer with relevant information to support the resident services coordination model being narratively described in the applicant’s text answers.  The items with an asterisk are required documents. Applicants will not be able to submit their application without attaching these documents. While the other documents are not required in order to submit the application, the applicant may lose potential points if they are unable to provide these documents.

    • Organizational Chart*
    • Protocols for Storing Resident Data Electronically
    • Resident Services Coordinator Job Description*
    • Organizational Goals, Theory of Change, or Logic Model
    • Example Completed Community Scan* from within the last six years
    • Example Completed Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment Report* from within the last three years
    • Example Property Services Plan* from within the last three years
    • Example MOU/Service Agreement with External Service Partner (if relevant) that was executed/renewed within the last three years
    • Example Resident Indicators and Analysis Report (Single Property) * from within the last three years
    • Example Impact Analysis/Report (multiple properties)
    • Example Contract between Third-Party Resident Services Organization and Property Owner*  (For Third-Party Model Applicants ONLY)

     

    Please Note: The example Community Scan, Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment Report, Property Services Plan, and Resident Indicators and Analysis Report (single property) should all be for the same property.

     

    Check out this webinar video which reviews the four documents required for a CORES application that we get the most questions on. This provides a more in-depth look at the Community Scan, Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment (formerly called the Resident Opportunities & Needs Assessment), Property Services Plan, and Resident Indicators and Analysis Report.

  • What are the threshold requirements to be eligible for CORES certification?

    The CORES certification is designed for affordable housing owners/organizations that provide resident services in line with a robust coordination system.

    A resident services coordination system includes all functions tied to the organizational mission to implement resident services in affordable rental housing, including corporate and site-based staff, funding, technology systems, services and programs, research and evaluation, organizational knowledge and tools necessary to support resident services.

    While an organization does not need to offer resident services coordination or have resident services staff at all properties within their portfolio, it must be able to demonstrate that its infrastructure and implementation of a system of resident services has been scaled at multiple properties within their portfolio for a minimum of three years. 

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

    • An organization must fit one of the approved resident services coordination models ([Owner-Operator] Direct Resident Services Coordination Model, [Owner-Operator] Hybrid Resident Services Coordination Model, or Third Party Resident Services Contractor Coordination Model).

      Please Note: If interested in seeking certification under both the Direct and Third-Party models, please contact CORES for more information about the Streamlined Third-Party application option. 

    • An organization must have the selected model scaled at multiple properties in their portfolio. 
    • An organization must provide resident services coordination (consistent with the definition) at multiple properties (senior, family, and/or supportive) within their portfolio for a minimum of three years.
    • For Direct and Hybrid Model applicants: An organization must have a minimum of three years of experience as a multi-family housing provider.
    • For Third-Party Model applicants: An organization must use formalized contracts with the owner of a property where it is operating. Agreements should include or address: (1) scope of work/roles and responsibilities, (2) a staffing plan, (3) use of space agreement, (4) goals/evaluation, (5) terms and compensation, and (6) insurance requirements.
    • An organization must provide regional/corporate oversight and management of the property-based resident services coordination and implementation. Please see our Staffing FAQ for additional guidance. 

    • An organization must have a regional/corporate resident services function and have dedicated frontline resident services coordination staff (either hired directly or through a third-party contractor) on-site at properties. 

    • As part of its resident services coordination process, an organization must demonstrate the use of four tools: (1) Community Scan, (2) Resident Opportunities and Priorities Assessment, (3) Property Services Plan, and a (4) Resident Indicators and Analysis Report. Please see training video for additional information and guidance on these tools.           

    • An organization must describe how it addresses low participation in resident service programs/activities, including how the organization analyzes why there is low participation and responds. 

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

  • How long will the CORES certification last?

    The CORES certification lasts five years. After five years, the organization must apply to be re-certified. Additional information can be found here.

  • How long will it take to find out if an applying organization has been approved for CORES certification?

    Once an application if fully complete, it is expected that the review process will take four to six weeks. This projected timeline may be impacted during periods of increased application volume.

  • Who manages the CORES certification process?

    The CORES certification is managed by Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future (SAHF).

  • Does CORES Certification apply to an organization’s entire portfolio?

    Yes, an organization applies once and if approved, the CORES certification is applicable across the entire portfolio and is inclusive of family, senior and supportive housing communities.

  • What kind of resident services program qualifies CORES certification?

    The CORES certification is designed for affordable housing owner-operators and organizations that provide resident services in line with a robust coordination system.

    A resident services coordination system includes all functions tied to the organizational mission to implement resident services in affordable rental housing, including corporate and site-based staff, funding, technology systems, services and programs, research and evaluation, organizational knowledge and tools necessary to support resident services.

    To be eligible, an organization does not need to offer a CORES-level of resident services coordination or have frontline resident services staff at all properties within their portfolio, but the organization must be able to demonstrate this level of infrastructure and implementation is in place at multiple properties -- that resident-centered outreach and program models, with adequate frontline staffing are a part of the organization's mission and business model. Please review the CORES staffing FAQ and ensure that your organization meets the certification threshold requirements.