In case you missed it this week, a report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has essentially failed in acting on the promised disaster recovery block grants for those parts of the United States hit by the 2017 hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and María).
“As of January 2019, Texas had drawn down about $18 million (of $5 billion) for administration and planning only, and Florida had drawn down about $1 million (of $616 million) for administration, planning, and housing activities,” the report said in its summary. “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had not drawn down any of the $1.5 billion and $243 million, respectively, they had been allocated.”
We repeat this line again “Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands had not drawn down any of the $1.5 billion and $243 million, respectively, they had been allocated.”
The report also said this: “HUD lacks adequate guidance for staff reviewing the quality of grantees’ financial processes and procedures and assessments of capacity and unmet needs, and has not completed monitoring or workforce plans. The checklists used to review grantees’ financial processes and procedures and assessments ask the reviewer to determine if the grantee included certain information, such as its procurement processes, but not to evaluate the adequacy of that information. In addition, the checklists, which include a series of “yes” or “no” questions, do not include guidance that the HUD reviewer must consider. HUD also does not have a monitoring plan that identifies the risk factors for each grantee and outlines the scope of monitoring. Further, HUD has not developed a workforce plan that identifies the critical skills and competencies HUD needs and includes strategies to address any staffing gaps. Adequate review guidance, a monitoring plan, and strategic workforce planning would improve HUD’s ability to oversee CDBG-DR grants.”
GAO also recommended this: “Congress should consider permanently authorizing a disaster assistance program that meets unmet needs in a timely manner. GAO also makes five recommendations to HUD, which include developing guidance for HUD staff to use in assessing grantees, developing a monitoring plan, and conducting workforce planning. HUD generally agreed with three recommendations and partially agreed with two, which GAO clarified to address HUD’s comments.”
You can read the entire report here: