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WASHINGTON DC— Today, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an audit report about HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center’s (REAC) process for inspecting the physical conditions of public housing units. 

HUD ensures that affordable housing communities are safe and up to code by having HUD contractors periodically inspect properties receiving assistance through HUD’s public housing program, using standards established by HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center

(REAC).  HUD requires public housing agencies (PHA) to address life-threatening exigent health and safety and fire safety smoke detector deficiencies identified during REAC inspections within 24-hours. HUD then monitors the PHAs’ corrections of life-threatening deficiencies.  

HUD OIG’s audit determined that HUD field offices inconsistently oversaw and tracked whether PHAs corrected life-threatening deficiencies identified during REAC inspections. HUD OIG also determined that HUD staff had different interpretations of HUD’s requirement of PHAs to perform routine self-inspections of public housing properties, which include an annual visual assessment of the property to identify deficiencies and determine maintenance and modernization needs of the properties.

Because HUD’s field office staff generally did not monitor PHAs for compliance with HUD’s requirements for self-inspections, HUD could miss opportunities to provide technical assistance to PHAs through early intervention. 

HUD OIG’s audit report includes six recommendations that may improve HUD’s monitoring and tracking of PHAs’ efforts to address inspection deficiencies and provide greater assurance that tenants residing in public housing are living in units that are decent, safe, and sanitary.

“Public housing agencies are critical partners for HUD in administering housing assistance at the local level and ensuring that HUD housing is safe and hazard free,” said Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis. “My office will continue prioritizing oversight work that promotes safe, affordable housing by reducing environmental and public health hazards in HUD housing.” 

Anyone with information about environmental hazards and unsafe unit conditions in HUD housing should contact the HUD OIG Hotline at 1-800-347-3735 or report online at https://www.hudoig.gov/hotline. For media inquiries, contact us at [email protected].