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HUD’s Major Program Offices Can Improve Their Preparedness To Respond to Upcoming Natural Disasters

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General, has completed its audit of the HUD’s disaster preparedness from 2005 to 2018.  We performed this audit due to an agreement with six other Inspectors General as part of a Disaster Assistance Working Group-Cross Cutting Functional Effort by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to determine to what extent the Federal departments were prepared for upcoming natural disasters.  (See the Scope and Methodology section for details about the working group.)  Our specific audit objective was to determine whether HUD’s Offices of Multifamily Housing Programs, Single Family Housing, Community Planning and Development, Native American Programs, and Public Housing can improve their preparedness to respond to upcoming natural disasters.  We found HUD’s Offices of Multifamily Housing Programs, Single Family Housing, Community Planning and Development, Native American Programs, and Public Housing had weaknesses in their written policies and supervisory controls.  The Offices of Multifamily and Single family had control weaknesses in their post disaster information-gathering activities.  The Offices of Community Planning and Development and Native American Programs had weaknesses in their controls to ensure that all affected grantees and housing entities are contacted following a disaster.  And, the Office of Public Housing did not track its outreach to PHAs.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing establish and implement a process to ensure that policies, procedures, and supervisory controls are effective.  We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development establish and implement a process to ensure that supervisory controls are effective related to a requirement that staff contact grantees following a disaster.  We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing establish and implement a process to ensure that the Office of Native American Programs’ policies and procedures are effective.  We recommend the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations improve the Office of Public Housing’s procedures with written guidance to ensure that its staff formally tracks outreach to public housing agencies.