Responding to Community Housing Needs


SHARES, which stands for Self-Help Automated Reporting and Evaluation System, is an internet-based application designed to manage, track, evaluate, and report on the status of the Mutual Self-Help Housing, Section 523 Grant Program. The data entered into SHARES by authorized personnel can be assessed and viewed by NCALL's self-help team in order to provide assistance to this program.

SHARES is a very useful tool for self-help grantees, Rural Development and NCALL. We understand, however, that at times it can be confusing and a bit frustrating. Therefore, this section is for Mutual Self-Help Housing grantees to assist them with some frequently asked questions. We will be updating this as questions arise. Please e-mail your self-help specialist with any ideas of questions to include here.

Simply select a question below and the solution will appear.

Q: Will I be able to access SHARES if I upgrade to Windows 7?

A: Yes. There are a few resolutions to the compatibility issues between Windows 7 and SHARES. Since SHARES is a legacy system, the newer operating systems do not automatically work together. Initially, we found a work-around through Microsoft’s virtual machine with Windows XP. We downloaded the JInitiator (see below) and Adobe Reader , and successfully accessed SHARES.

On May 12, 2010, however, the National Office announced a “fix” for the compatibility issue. NCALL tested it immediately and was able to access SHARES through Windows 7 without difficulty or downloading additional components. Initially, you will see the following security warning:

Select "Always trust content from this publisher", then "Run". By doing so, you should be able to access SHARES without seeing this message again.

Q: Do you have problems accessing SHARES or get disconnected when using Internet Explorer?

A: Try using Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. We have found this works consistently. Make sure you have the current plug-in, which is JInitiator To download this plug-in, log into the e-Authentication site and look for "Downloads and New Features".

Q: We have another self-help staff person that will be entering data into SHARES. How do we get this person access? We can not find the instructions for e-Authentication.

A: Here are the steps to obtain Level 2 e-Authentication access to SHARES:

  • To create a Level 2 eAuthentication Account, click here.
  • On this page you will find a description of "What is Level 2 Access?" Read the description.
  • Below the description is a link to: Create an account with Level 2 Access. Click on the link to go to the Create an Account page.
  • From this point there are four steps to complete.
  1. Complete all the information requested on the Create an Account page. For detailed help on filling out each of the fields, click on "Create an Account Help" in the top right-hand corner. You will start by creating a unique User ID. Remember, once you create a User ID, you cannot change it. Use one that is easy for you to remember such as firstname.lastname. Note the requirements for a valid password. Your first name, last name and home address must be entered exactly as they appear on your government-issued ID card (such as a driver's license) that you will present at a USDA Service Center to confirm your identity. After completing this page, click Continue to proceed to Step 2.
  2. If a required field is missing data, or if data was entered incorrectly, you will get an error message letting you know what needs to be corrected. Otherwise, you will see the User Information Confirmation screen with the information that you entered on the previous page. Verify the information. Make sure your e-mail address is correct as instructions to complete the process will be sent to you via e-mail. You can hit the Back button to make changes. If all the information is correct, click Submit to create your account. You will be able to access your account to make changes after your account has been created.
  3. You will see the Print and Check E-mail page. Print this page for future reference as it tells you what you will need to do once you receive a confirmation e-mail.
  4. You will receive a confirmation e-mail. Click on the link to ACTIVATE MY ACCOUNT. You must activate your account within seven days of the receipt of the e-mail. Otherwise, you will have to start the process all over again.
  • You are now ready to complete the final step explained in the confirmation e-mail. Visit a USDA Service Center or RD Office and show your government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, to the Local Registration Authority (LRA). The LRA will then activate your account. You should call before you visit to ensure that the LRA will be available. This will complete the process of obtaining a Level 2 eAuthentication account.

Q. When I am entering the Loan Closing on Page 4 of the Borrower Screens, do I also need to make sure the Docket Status Date on Page 1 of the Borrower Screens reflects the same date?

A. Yes, the dates must both reflect the correct loan closing date. The Docket Status Date (which SHARES defines as the Loan Closing Date) will not automatically update when you complete Page 4.

Q: I noticed on our grant, the number of days averages 20,001 ...we can talk about this at the next QRM. My recommendation would be, it is not worth the time to go back and try to correct this item.

A: We have researched SHARES to see how it calculates 6.b on the Monthly Report. SHARES calculates an average difference on the Borrower Screen between the Docket Submitted On Date and the Docket Status Date (closing date). In your case, the newest grant has 4 borrowers with closed loans and the average is 83 days, which matches the Report.