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Impact of Oil and Gas Exploration on Affordable Housing

May 5, 2014 Comments off

Impact of Oil and Gas Exploration on Affordable Housing (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This working paper, prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), Economic Market Analysis Division Gas/Oil Task Force (GOTF), examines the impact of oil and gas exploration on the affordable rental-housing market. The paper comprises three sections: the first provides a brief overview of affordable rental-housing programs, the second discusses the measurable impacts of oil and gas exploration on affordable housing, and the third reviews how HUD and state agencies are addressing these impacts. An appendix provides detailed definitions related to HUD and other affordable housing programs.

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HUD’s Fiscal Year 2013 Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010

April 21, 2014 Comments off

HUD’s Fiscal Year 2013 Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General

We conducted an audit of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fiscal year 2013 compliance with the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 as amended by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA).  IPERA was enacted to eliminate and recover improper payments by requiring agencies to identify and report on programs that are susceptible to significant improper payments.  IPERA also requires each agency’s Inspector General to perform an annual review of the agency’s compliance with IPERA.  Our audit objectives were to (1) determine HUD’s compliance with IPERA reporting and improper payment reduction requirements and (2) determine whether corrective action plans addressed the root causes of HUD’s improper payments and were effectively implemented.

HUD did not comply with IPERA reporting requirements because it did not sufficiently and accurately report its (1) billing and program component improper payment rates; (2) actions to recover improper payments; (3) accountability; or (4) corrective actions, internal controls, human capital, and information systems as required by IPERA.  In addition, HUD’s supplemental measures and associated corrective actions did not sufficiently target the root causes of its improper payments because they did not track and monitor processing entities to ensure prevention, detection, and recovery of improper payments due to rent component and billing errors, which are root causes identified by HUD’s contractor studies.

CRS — Community Development Block Grants: Recent Funding History

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Community Development Block Grants: Recent Funding History (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), under the Community Development Fund (CDF) account, was first authorized by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act (HCDA) of 1974, P.L. 93-383. During the program’s nearly 40-year existence, Congress has allocated approximately $138 billion to help state and local governments undertake housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and other community development activities. In addition to its annual appropriations, Congress, as events have warranted, has used the program’s framework to provide supplemental and special appropriations to assist states and communities in responding to various economic crises and manmade and natural disasters.

This report is a review of the CDF account’s funding history from FY2000 to FY2013, as well as current funding in FY2014. It includes a discussion of the three primary components of the CDF account: (1) CDBG formula grants; (2) CDBG-related set-asides and earmarks; and (3) CDBGlinked supplemental and special appropriations. It is intended to provide recent historical background as the 113th Congress considers CDF funding levels and composition. For information on CDF appropriation legislation considered during the 113th Congress, the reader should consult CRS Report Community Development Block Grant Funding Issues in the 113th Congress.

Violations Increased the Cost of Housing’s Administration of Its Bond Refund Program

March 19, 2014 Comments off

Violations Increased the Cost of Housing’s Administration of Its Bond Refund Program
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General

We audited certain portions of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) multifamily housing programs as part of our fiscal year 2013 annual audit plan, based on an auditability study that we conducted, which identified potentially significant risk factors in its McKinney Act bond refund program. The objectives of the audit were to determine whether HUD properly enforced requirements that regulated the application of automatic adjustment factors to Section 8 rents for projects that had bond refund savings to prevent excessive rents and whether adjustments to receivables due to HUD from bond refunds were properly supported.

There were violations relative to HUD’s calculation of rents using automatic annual adjustment factors for bond-refunded projects and justification and support for writeoffs of receivables due to HUD from bond refunds. Specifically, HUD paid more than $2.6 million in excessive Section 8 rents due to a pattern of violations, which would indicate the existence of excess rents beyond the projects reviewed during the audit and similar to violations reported in past reviews. More than $2.7 million in questionable writeoffs of receivables due to HUD for bond refund savings were also identified. The amount included more than $2.6 million, which HUD wrote off without proper justification, and more than $139,000 for which HUD could not locate or provide proper documentation to show whether the writeoff was justified and supported. We also identified the release of more than $143,300 in trust fund balances to entities outside HUD without proper support. These conditions occurred primarily because the Office of Housing had not developed and implemented adequate monitoring of the bond refund program to ensure compliance with requirements.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing develop and implement procedures for (1) monitoring the calculation of annual rent increases for Section 8 projects and the remittance of trust fund balances; and (2) ensuring requests made by Housing for adjustments to bond receivables are in accordance with requirements. In addition, we recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary initiate actions needed to ensure the enforcement of program requirements and the proper resolution of more than $2.7 million in questioned costs.

HUD Reports Continued Decline in U.S. Homelessness Since 2010

November 22, 2013 Comments off

HUD Reports Continued Decline in U.S. Homelessness Since 2010
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today released its latest national estimate of homelessness in the U.S., noting reductions in every major category or subpopulation since 2010, the year the federal government established “Opening Doors,” a strategic plan to end homelessness. HUD’s 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress finds significant and measureable progress to reduce the scale of long-term or ‘chronic’ homelessness as well as homelessness experienced by Veterans and families.

HUD’s annual ‘point-in-time’ estimates measure the scope of homelessness on a single night in January of each year. Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s one-night estimate reveals a 24 percent drop in homelessness among Veterans and a 16 percent reduction among individuals experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness since 2010. HUD’s estimate also found the largest decline in the number of persons in families experiencing homelessness since the Department began measuring homelessness in a standard manner in 2005.

Invest but Reform: Streamline Administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program

October 21, 2013 Comments off

Invest but Reform: Streamline Administration of the Housing Choice Voucher Program
Source: Brookings Institution

The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the federal government’s primary tool for addressing the housing needs of low-income renters, is administered by thousands of local public housing agencies (PHAs), most of which serve individual cities, towns, or counties. This balkanized system seriously undermines the potential of the housing voucher program while at the same time raising administrative costs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) should replace the current system by competitively awarding the operation of the voucher program to one well-qualified organization or consortium that will administer the program throughout an entire metropolitan area. In the near term, HUD can and should more vigorously encourage the formation of regional consortiums, mandate regional administration in metros where large shares of eligible households are served by failing PHAs, and strengthen existing performance standards to create incentives for voluntary regionalization.

Making Mixed-Income Neighborhoods Work for Low-Income Households

September 24, 2013 Comments off

Making Mixed-Income Neighborhoods Work for Low-Income Households
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Mixed-income housing policies such as Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere, or HOPE VI, are an outcome of historical processes that have limited the scope of subsidized public housing in America, leading to disinvestment in government housing programs in favor of reinvestment in market-based solutions. The underlying assumption has been that reinvestment deconcentrates poverty and addresses other perceived failures of traditional public housing. Although they provide some benefits to lower income residents, such initiatives have not produced many of the outcomes for which their advocates had hoped. The goal of this article is to reinvigorate the conversation about how, and if, mixed-income housing policies can be implemented in ways that work with and for the benefit of low-income populations. The article draws on literature about public housing and mixed-income development to posit ways that mixed-income initiatives might be combined with other programmatic efforts to foster upward trajectories for those experiencing poverty and to create public housing environments where people can thrive in all aspects of their lives. In the final section, we reimagine mixed-income housing in ways that could result in more inclusive communities—a reimagination that we suggest may better meet the original goals of such programs without dismissing the inherent limitations of solving entrenched poverty.

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