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From 2001 to 2022, the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery program provided almost $98 billion to states, cities, counties, and territories to help them recover from disasters.  Administering disaster recovery has been a recurring U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) top management challenge since 2018.  Therefore, we audited the disaster recovery program to determine whether the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) had improved the timing of its delivery of disaster recovery funds and whether it met congressional allocation timing requirements.

CPD’s time to deliver disaster program funds to grant recipients varied between 2001 and 2022 and trended upward.  For 2018 and 2019 disaster relief funding, CPD took significantly longer to allocate and award the funds.  Further, CPD did not meet the publishing requirements mandated in one public law and did not meet the allocation requirements for another.  CPD’s increase in time to deliver disaster program funds and its inability to meet a few of the statutory requirements were caused by (1) the disaster recovery program’s lacking permanent authorizing legislation; (2) required coordination among multiple Federal agencies, various HUD offices, and the grantees; and (3) other external and internal issues.  As a result, grantees had to wait longer to execute their grant agreements and start spending the disaster recovery funds.  Further, CPD lacked consistent and documented allocation data for all grantees, which impaired its ability to benchmark and consistently report the date of allocation to Congress or the public.
 

In 2020, CPD issued a Federal Register (FR) notice with an appendix titled “The Consolidated Notice,” which decreased the time it took CPD to allocate disaster program funds.  However, opportunities exist to further improve the timing of CPD’s delivery of disaster program funds.  We recommend that the Director of the Office Disaster Recovery (1) collect and record the number of days that it or other entities take to complete each milestone in the grant process, (2) establish timing benchmarks for the milestones at each significant step in the allocation and award process based on actual data accumulated for the various grants, and (3) take steps to ensure that the milestone point of allocation is formally defined and documented, to allow for accurate tracking of compliance with requirements.  We believe that implementation of the recommendations in this report will improve overall timing of program delivery and ensure that funds are provided to grantees as quickly as possible. 
 

Recommendations

Community Planning and Development

  •   2024-FW-0002-001-A

    We recommend that the Director of Disaster Recovery collect and record the number of days that it or other entities take to complete each milestone in the grant process.

  •   2024-FW-0002-001-B

    We recommend that the Director of Disaster Recovery establish timing benchmarks for the milestones at each significant step in the allocation and award process based on actual data accumulated for the various grants.

  •   2024-FW-0002-001-C

    We recommend that the Director of Disaster Recovery take steps to ensure that the milestone point of allocation is formally defined and documented, to allow for accurate tracking of compliance with requirements.