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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Single Family Housing’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Resource Center’s handling of housing discrimination inquiries.  We initiated the audit to assist HUD with ensuring that the FHA Resource Center (1) provided accurate and complete information on potential housing discrimination to its customers and (2) ensured that instances of potential housing discrimination were routed through the proper channels.  Our objective was to assess whether the FHA Resource Center appropriately rerouted inquiries related to housing discrimination, including discrimination in appraisals, to HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) in accordance with its standard operating procedures.

The FHA Resource Center did not consistently reroute housing discrimination inquiries to FHEO in accordance with its standard operating procedures.  Specifically, it did not reroute 14 of 68 reviewed housing discrimination inquiries to FHEO as required.  In addition, it did not reroute 3 of 10 test calls that we placed relating to housing appraisal discrimination.  These inconsistencies occurred because the FHA Resource Center lacked clear guidance on how to handle discrimination inquiries when the inquiries included multiple concerns, such as a customer alleging discrimination while also complaining about living conditions in public housing.  The FHA Resource Center also did not consistently provide refresher training on how to handle discrimination inquiries.  As a result of these inconsistencies, customers with discrimination concerns were at higher risk of FHEO not addressing their concerns, living in unfavorable conditions, or losing their homes.

We recommended that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing update policies and procedures regarding discrimination complaints to ensure consistency among customer service representatives in rerouting these complaints to FHEO.    Also, we recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary ensure that the FHA Resource Center updates its training program so that refresher training on housing discrimination is regularly provided to staff (such as monthly, quarterly, semiannually, etc.).  HUD took actions during the audit to implement these recommendations.

Recommendation Status Date Issued Summary
2024-BO-0001-001-A Closed December 18, 2023 We recommend that HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing update policies and procedures regarding discrimination complaints to ensure consistency among customer service representatives in rerouting these complaints to FHEO.
2024-BO-0001-001-B Closed December 18, 2023 We recommend that HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Single Family Housing ensure that the FHA Resource Center updates its training program to ensure that refresher training on housing discrimination is regularly provided to staff (such as monthly, quarterly, semiannually, etc.).