We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Native American Programs’ (ONAP) coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) recovery programs. We performed this audit to provide HUD with insight and a nationwide perspective on the challenges that grantees experienced with those programs. Our audit objectives were to identify 1) the information, guidance, and training HUD provided to the grantees for the ONAP COVID-19 recovery programs and 2) the challenges that grantees faced in implementing and using program-provided funding.
HUD provided information, guidance, and training to assist grantees in navigating the ONAP COVID-19 recovery programs soon after the funding was appropriated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and American Rescue Plan Act in 2020 and 2021 to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Most grantees reported that they were satisfied with the resources and assistance HUD provided. Despite HUD’s efforts, ONAP COVID-19 recovery program grantees reported facing challenges in using funds that were primarily outside of HUD’s control, including a lack of supplies (and increased cost of supplies), contractors, and capacity. These challenges occurred in part due to many factors, such as the worldwide supply chain problems; the influx of Federal funding; and existing systemic problems, including the lack of affordable housing. As a result, approximately $531.5 million of the $1.03 billion that Congress authorized for the ONAP COVID-19 recovery programs remained available to be drawn by grantees (approximately 52 percent) approximately 2 years after the funding was appropriated. We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for ONAP consider grantee feedback on the challenges they faced as part of ONAP’s planning for technical assistance and training of ONAP COVID-19 recovery program grantees.