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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on Federalism and the Census, Committee on 
Government Reform, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 2:00 p.m. EST: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2006: 

Public Housing: 

Information on the Roles of HUD, Public Housing Agencies, Capital 
Markets, and Service Organizations: 

Statement of David G. Wood, Director, Financial Markets and Community 
Investments: 

GAO-06-419T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-06-419T, a testimony to the Subcommittee on 
Federalism and the Census, Committee on Government Reform, House of 
Representatives: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

Under the Public Housing Program, the Department of Housing and Urban 
Development (HUD) and local public housing agencies (PHA) provide 
housing for low-income residents at rents they can afford. Today, over 
3,000 PHAs administer approximately 1.2 million public housing units 
throughout the nation. First authorized in 1937, the program has 
undergone changes over the decades. The Quality Housing and Work 
Responsibility Act of 1998 increased managerial flexibility but also 
established new requirements for housing agencies. Some observers have 
questioned the programís ability to provide quality, affordable housing 
to the nationís neediest families. 

This testimony, which is based upon a number of reports that GAO has 
issued related to public housing since 2002, discusses the roles of (1) 
HUD (2) public housing agencies, (3) capital markets, and (4) community 
services organizations in the public housing system. 

What GAO Found: 

Traditionally, HUDís role has been to provide PHAs with funding, 
guidance, and oversight. HUD provides both capital and operating 
funding. In addition, HUD has provided selected agencies with grants 
under the HOPE VI program to demolish and revitalize severely 
distressed public housing and provide community and supportive 
services. HUD provides guidance to PHAs to supplement its regulations 
and explicitly convey required program policies and procedures. Based 
on past work, GAO has made recommendations to HUD to improve the 
clarity and timeliness of its guidance to PHAs and to improve its 
oversight of the program. 

PHAs are responsible for managing public housing in accordance with HUD 
regulations and requirements. They are also required to develop and 
submit plans detailing the agencyís goals and strategies for reaching 
these goals. Further, PHAs that receive HOPE VI grants are required to 
provide residents with supportive services. GAOís work has identified 
challenges that the agencies face in carrying out their 
responsibilities, including difficulty with HUDís data systems and lack 
of resources for hiring and training staff. 

GAO has not reviewed the extent to which capital markets can play a 
role in the public housing system, but its examination of the HOPE VI 
program and other work has identified examples of leveraging federal 
funds with funds from a variety of other public and private sources. 
HUD encourages public housing agencies to use their HOPE VI grants to 
leverage funding from other sources to increase the number of 
affordable housing units developed at project sites. The examples GAO 
has found include private funding for both capital projects and the 
provision of supportive services. 

PHAs may utilize community service organizations to assist public 
housing residents. Work GAO has done on federal housing programs that 
benefit the elderly, as well as recent work focused on public housing 
for the elderly and residents with disabilities, identified examples of 
supportive services being offered or provided to public housing 
residents. Such services may be provided through HUD grants as well as 
through partnerships between public housing agencies and community-
based nonprofit organizations. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-06-419T. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact David G. Wood at (202) 
512-8678 or woodd@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today as the Committee 
considers the nation's public housing. The Public Housing Program was 
established in 1937 to provide decent and safe rental housing for low- 
income families. Congress annually appropriates funds for the program, 
and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates 
them to local public housing agencies (PHA). Today, over 3,000 PHAs 
administer approximately 1.2 million public housing units throughout 
the nation under HUD's oversight. 

My statement is based on a number of reports that we have issued 
related to public housing, primarily since 2002. The topics of these 
reports have included (1) how HUD assesses PHAs' performance and the 
steps it takes to remedy poor performance; (2) the agencies' 
experiences with reforms instituted by the Quality Housing and Work 
Responsibility Act (QHWRA) of 1998; (3) various aspects of the HOPE VI 
program for revitalizing severely distressed public housing; and (4) 
most recently, the condition of public housing for the elderly and 
disabled. As you requested, my statement discusses the roles of (1) HUD 
(2) public housing agencies, (3) capital markets, and (4) community 
services organizations in the public housing system. In preparing this 
information, we excerpted and summarized information from reports 
issued between 2002 and 2005. A list of these reports appears at the 
end of this statement. 

In brief: 

* Traditionally, HUD's role has been to provide PHAs with funding, 
guidance, and oversight. HUD provides both capital and operating 
funding. In addition, HUD has provided selected agencies with grants 
under the HOPE VI program to demolish and revitalize severely 
distressed public housing and provide community and supportive 
services. HUD provides guidance to PHAs to supplement its regulations 
and explicitly convey required program policies and procedures. Based 
on our past work, we have made recommendations to HUD to improve the 
clarity and timeliness of its guidance to PHAs, and to improve its 
oversight of the program. 

* PHAs are responsible for managing public housing in accordance with 
HUD regulations and requirements. They are also required to develop and 
submit plans detailing the agency's goals and strategies for reaching 
these goals. Further, PHAs that receive HOPE VI grants are required to 
provide residents with supportive services. Our work has identified 
challenges that the agencies face in carrying out their 
responsibilities, including difficulty with HUD's data systems and lack 
of resources for hiring and training staff. 

* While we have not reviewed the extent to which capital markets can 
play a role in the public housing system, our examination of the HOPE 
VI program and other work has identified examples of leveraging federal 
funds with funds from a variety of other public and private sources. 
HUD encourages PHAs to use their HOPE VI grants to leverage funding 
from other sources to increase the number of affordable housing units 
developed at project sites. The examples we have found include private 
funding for both capital projects and the provision of supportive 
services. 

* PHAs may utilize community service organizations to assist public 
housing residents. Work we have done on federal housing programs that 
benefit the elderly, as well as recent work focused on public housing 
for the elderly and residents with disabilities, identified examples of 
supportive services being offered or provided to public housing 
residents. Such services may be provided through HUD grants as well as 
through partnerships between PHAs and community-based nonprofit 
organizations. 

Background: 

Under the U. S. Housing Act of 1937, as amended, Congress created the 
federal public housing program to provide decent and safe rental 
housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with 
disabilities. HUD administers the program with PHAs, typically local 
agencies created under state law that manage housing for low-income 
residents at rents they can afford. Agencies that participate in the 
program contract with HUD to provide housing to eligible low-income 
households and, in return, receive financial assistance from HUD. 
Public housing comes in all sizes and types, from scattered single- 
family houses to high-rise apartments. 

In 1992, Congress established the HOPE VI program, which is 
administered by HUD. The program provides grants to PHAs to 
rehabilitate or rebuild severely distressed public housing and improve 
the lives of public housing residents through supportive services. In 
2003, Congress expanded the statutory definition of "severely 
distressed public housing" for the purpose of HOPE VI to include 
indicators of social distress, such as a lack of supportive services 
and economic opportunities. Between fiscal years 1993 and 2005, 
Congress appropriated $6.8 billion for the HOPE VI program. 

In addition to managing public housing, some PHAs administer other HUD 
programs that provide housing assistance for low-income households. 
Under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, about 2,500 participating 
PHAs enter into contracts with HUD and receive funds to provide rent 
subsidies to the owners of private housing on behalf of assisted low- 
income households. In addition, PHAs assist in administering HUD's 
project-based rental assistance programs, through which HUD pays 
subsidies to private owners of multifamily housing that help make this 
housing affordable for lower income households. 

HUD Provides Funding, Guidance, and Oversight for Local PHAs: 

Traditionally, HUD has provided funding to local PHAs to manage the 
public housing system, as well as for the revitalization of severely 
distressed public housing. HUD's role has also included providing PHAs 
with guidance and overseeing their performance, including providing 
technical assistance. 

Funding and Guidance: 

HUD provides funding to housing agencies through two formula grant 
programs: the Operating Fund and the Capital Fund. The Operating Fund 
provides annual subsidies to housing agencies to make up the difference 
between the amount they collect in rent and the cost of operating the 
units. The Capital Fund provides grants to PHAs for the major repair 
and modernization of the units. In addition, HUD has provided selected 
agencies with grants under the HOPE VI program to help housing agencies 
replace and revitalize severely distressed public housing with physical 
and community and supportive service improvements. As shown in table 1, 
this HUD funding has totaled about $31.5 billion over the past 5 fiscal 
years. 

Table 1: Appropriations for the Public Housing Program for Fiscal Years 
2002-2006: 

Millions of dollars. 

Operating Fund; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $3,495; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $3,577; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $3,579; 
Fiscal year: 2005: $2,438; 
Fiscal year: 2006[A]: $3,564; 
Total: $16,653. 

Capital Fund; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $2,843; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $2,712; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $2,696; 
Fiscal year: 2005: $2,579; 
Fiscal year: 2006[A]: $2,439; 
Total: $13,269. 

Hope VI; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $574; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $570; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $149; 
Fiscal year: 2005: $143; 
Fiscal year: 2006[A]: $99; 
Total: $1,535. 

Total; 
Fiscal year: 2002: $6,912; 
Fiscal year: 2003: $6,859; 
Fiscal year: 2004: $6,424; 
Fiscal year: 2005: $5,160; 
Fiscal year: 2006[A]: $6,102; 
Total: $31,457. 

Source: GAO. 

[A] Budget totals include the 1.0 percent across the board rescission 
to nondefense discretionary resources provided in FY 2006 regular 
appropriations acts per P.L. No: 109-148. 

[End of table] 

In exchange for capital and operating funding, PHAs enter into annual 
contributions contracts. According to this written contract, HUD agrees 
to make payments to the PHA and the PHA agrees to administer the 
housing program in accordance with HUD regulations and requirements. 
HUD provides guidance to PHAs to supplement its regulations, and 
explicitly convey required program policies and procedures. 

Some of our past work has shown a need for HUD to improve the clarity 
and/or timeliness of its guidance to housing authorities. For example: 

* For our 2002 review of HUD's and housing agencies' experiences in 
preparing annual plans required by the Quality Housing and Work 
Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA), we surveyed HUD field offices and 
interviewed eight PHAs to gain insight into their experiences.[Footnote 
1] Respondents reported that HUD-provided guidance on the planning 
process was less than adequate. One respondent reported that 
headquarters guidance was delayed in getting to field locations, while 
another reported that changing rules made it difficult to know what the 
PHAs should do and what the field locations should look for in 
reviewing plans. However, some PHAs balanced their comments with 
positive remarks; for example, one large agency told us that HUD had 
improved the template for fiscal year 2001. HUD provided a desk guide 
to assist housing agencies and field locations in fiscal year 2001, in 
an effort to improve the planning process. 

* In surveying the directors of PHAs on their experiences with a number 
of QHWRA housing reforms, we again found late and unclear guidance from 
HUD.[Footnote 2] Public housing directors reported having to spend more 
administrative time in implementing reforms, partially due to a lack of 
clear guidance from HUD. 

* In reviewing HUD's management of the HOPE VI program, we found that 
the department's guidance on the role of field offices was unclear, 
and, as a result, some field offices did not seem to understand their 
role in HOPE VI oversight.[Footnote 3] For example, some officials 
stated that they had not performed annual reviews of HOPE VI projects 
because they did not think they had the authority to monitor grants. 
Based upon these findings, we recommended that the Secretary of HUD 
clarify the role of HUD field offices in HOPE VI oversight and ensure 
that the offices conduct required annual reviews of HOPE VI grants. HUD 
agreed with this recommendation and published new guidance in March 
2004 that clarified the role of the HUD field offices and changed the 
annual review requirements. 

Oversight and Technical Assistance: 

HUD is responsible for overseeing PHAs' overall performance and for 
helping agencies improve their performance (see fig. 1). In 1997, as a 
part of its 2020 Management Reform Plan, HUD instituted a new approach 
for evaluating PHAs' performance. The approach includes "scoring" each 
of several categories of performance, assigning each housing agency to 
a risk category, designating agencies as "troubled" if their scores are 
substandard and, in some cases, appointing receivers to actively manage 
the agencies. Also as a part of its oversight, HUD identifies housing 
agencies that need technical assistance. HUD's technical assistance 
involves activities such as training housing agency staff on how to use 
HUD systems or comply with reporting requirements. 

Figure 1: HUD's Oversight Structure for the Public Housing Program: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

HUD uses the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) to evaluate public 
housing agencies' performance, while its Public and Indian Housing 
Information Center (PIC) risk assessment uses the PHAS score and 
information about funding and compliance issues to classify housing 
authorities as high, moderate, or low risk. PHAS is designed to 
evaluate housing agencies' overall performance in managing rental 
units, including the physical condition of units, soundness of 
agencies' financial operations, the effectiveness of their management 
operations, and the level of resident satisfaction with the services 
and living conditions. HUD designed the PIC system to facilitate a Web- 
based exchange of data between PHAs and local HUD offices. PIC contains 
a detailed inventory of public housing units and information about 
them, including the number of developments and units, age of the 
development, and the extent to which apartment units are accessible for 
persons with disabilities. The system also tracks tenant (household) 
information, such as age, disability status, and income. 

Our past work has identified opportunities for HUD to improve its 
oversight of housing agencies and it provision of technical assistance. 
For example: 

* In 2002, we reported that the results of the PHAS and PIC systems 
were inconsistent.[Footnote 4] Specifically, in comparing information 
in the two systems, we found that 12 of the agencies that HUD--using 
PHAS scores--had determined were "troubled" were classified in the PIC 
system as "low" risk. Accordingly, we recommended that HUD classify all 
troubled housing authorities as high risk to better ensure that they 
receive sufficient monitoring. HUD agreed with our recommendation and 
incorporated it into its risk-assessment system. 

* In preparing a 2002 report on HUD's human capital management, 
directors of several HUD field offices told us that they lacked the 
staff to provide the level of oversight and technical assistance that 
the housing authorities need.[Footnote 5] In light of this and other 
findings, we recommended that the Secretary of HUD develop a 
comprehensive strategic workforce plan. HUD subsequently hired a 
contractor to develop a Strategic Workforce Plan, which it completed in 
2004. The plan includes analysis of current and future demand for staff 
and an analysis of the skills and competencies needed to accomplish 
tasks. 

* In our October 2003 report, we noted that small agencies are more 
likely to require assistance with the day-to-day management of HUD 
programs and that HUD does not maintain centralized, detailed 
information on the types of assistance PHAs require or request from 
them.[Footnote 6] HUD reported that it was developing a system that 
would allow it to collect such information in the future. 

* In 2005, we reported on HUD's efforts to assess PHAs' compliance with 
its policies for determining rent subsidies.[Footnote 7] We found that 
HUD had undertaken special reviews that, while useful, had suffered 
from a lack of clear policies and procedures and that the training and 
guidance HUD provided to PHAs on its policies for determining rent 
subsidies were not consistently adequate or timely. We recommended that 
the HUD Secretary (1) make regular monitoring of PHAs' compliance with 
HUD's policies for determining rent subsidies a permanent part of HUD's 
oversight activities and (2) collect complete and consistent 
information from these monitoring efforts and use it to help focus 
corrective actions where needed. HUD concurred with the recommendations 
but has not yet fully implemented them. 

HUD can take enforcement actions against PHAs that it identifies, 
through PHAS, as being "troubled." For such agencies, HUD assigns a 
recovery team and develops a plan to remedy the problems. Initially, 
HUD may offer technical assistance and training, but it may also 
sanction an authority; for example, by withholding funding. Ultimately, 
HUD may place a PHA under an administrative receivership, in which a 
receiver replaces the top management of the agency. Additionally, some 
PHAs may have receivers appointed by judges (these are known as 
judicial receivers). In February 2003, we reported that under 
administrative or judicial receivers, nearly all of the 15 agencies 
under receivership showed improvement during their years of 
receivership, according to changes in HUD's assessed scores and/or 
other evidence.[Footnote 8] The four PHAs under judicial receiverships 
generally had continued to demonstrate strong performance. While PHAs 
under administrative receiverships had also made improvements, some 
continued to demonstrate a significant problem with housing units being 
in very poor physical condition. 

Finally, HUD's headquarters and field offices are responsible for 
overseeing PHAs' use of HOPE VI grants. In 2003, we reported that HUD's 
oversight of HOPE VI grants had been inconsistent due to staffing 
limitations, confusion about the role of field offices, and a lack of 
formal enforcement policies.[Footnote 9] Based upon these findings, we 
recommended that HUD clarify the role of its field offices in HOPE VI 
oversight; ensure that the offices conduct required annual reviews of 
HOPE VI grants; and develop a formal, written enforcement policy to 
hold PHAs accountable for the status of their grants. HUD agreed with 
these recommendations and clarified the role of HUD field offices, 
changed the annual review requirements, and developed an enforcement 
policy, which it shared with grantees in December 2003. 

PHAs Are Responsible for Managing Public Housing in Accordance with HUD 
Regulations and Requirements: 

Generally, PHAs are responsible for administering the public housing 
program in accordance with HUD regulations and requirements. 
Specifically, PHAs must provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing to 
their residents, manage their financial resources, meet HUD's standards 
for management operations, and address residents' satisfaction. Among 
other things, PHAs are responsible for ensuring that tenants are 
eligible for public housing and that tenant subsidies are calculated 
properly. PHAs are also required to develop both short-and long-term 
plans outlining their goals and strategies. PHAs that receive HOPE VI 
grants are subject to additional requirements associated with those 
grants; for example, the agencies must provide residents of HOPE VI 
sites with certain types of supportive services. 

During the 1990s, PHAs gained broader latitude from HUD and the 
Congress to establish their own policies in areas such as selecting 
tenants and setting rent levels. The Quality Housing and Work 
Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA), which extensively amended the U.S. 
Housing Act of 1937, allowed PHAs to exercise still more discretion 
over rents and admissions.[Footnote 10] For example, QHWRA increased 
managerial flexibility by, among other things, making HUD-provided 
capital and operating funds more fungible, allowing housing authorities 
to sell some units to residents, and developing mixed-income housing 
units in order to bring more working and upwardly mobile families into 
public housing. 

QHWRA also established new requirements for housing agencies, 
including, for example, mandatory reporting requirements in the form of 
a 5-year plan and annual reporting plans. Five-year plans include long- 
range goals, while annual plans detail the agency's objectives and 
strategies for achieving these goals, as well as the agency's policies 
and procedures. For our May 2002 report, we examined PHAs' experiences 
in preparing the first of their required plans.[Footnote 11] We visited 
eight PHAs in the course of this work, and found that their views 
differed on the usefulness of the planning process and the level of 
resources required to prepare the plans, among other things. In June 
2003, in response to concerns that some QHWRA reforms were placing an 
undue burden on small PHAs, HUD issued regulations allowing small PHAs 
to submit streamlined annual plans. We have not revisited this issue, 
and therefore cannot say how HUD or the PHAs view the usefulness of the 
plans today. 

QHWRA also required PHAs to implement a number of additional reforms 
that affect the Public Housing Program. For our October 2003 report, we 
surveyed PHAs to find out their views on 18 key changes brought about 
by QHWRA and to see if views differed among large, medium, and small 
agencies.[Footnote 12] Some agencies in each size category viewed both 
the 5-year plan and the annual plan requirements as helpful to them in 
managing and operating their programs, although proportionately fewer 
small agencies had this view. We also found that agencies of all sizes 
reported spending more time on HUD-subsidized programs after QHWRA than 
before the reforms were enacted, in part because of increased reporting 
requirements, difficulties in submitting data to HUD, and lack of 
resources for hiring and training. 

PHAs that receive HOPE VI grants to revitalize public housing must 
obtain HUD's approval for their revitalization plans and must report 
project status information to HUD. The agencies are also required to 
offer community and supportive services--such as child care, 
transportation, job training, job placement and retention services, and 
parenting classes--to all original residents of public housing affected 
by HOPE VI projects, regardless of their intention to return to the 
revitalized site. In our November 2002 report on HOPE VI financing, we 
found that PHAs that had been awarded grants in fiscal years 1993 to 
2001 had budgeted a total of about $714 million for community and 
supportive services.[Footnote 13] Of this amount, about 59 percent were 
HOPE VI funds while 41 percent was leveraged from other resources. In 
our November 2003 report on HOPE VI impacts, we reported that limited 
HUD data on 165 HOPE VI grantees awarded through fiscal year 2001, and 
additional information, indicated that supportive services had achieved 
or contributed to positive outcomes.[Footnote 14] 

Private Capital Has Been Involved in Some HOPE VI Projects: 

While we have not reviewed the extent to which capital markets can be 
used with the public housing system, our reviews of the HOPE VI program 
have shown that some PHAs use HOPE VI revitalization grants to leverage 
additional funds from a variety of other public and private sources. 

HUD encourages PHAs to use their HOPE VI grants to leverage funding 
from other sources to increase the number of affordable housing units 
developed at HOPE VI sites. Public funding can come from other federal, 
state, or local sources. Private sources can include mortgage financing 
and financial or in-kind contributions from nonprofit organizations. In 
our November 2002 report on HOPE VI project financing, we found that 
financial leveraging of projects had shown a general increase over 
time, and that PHAs expected to leverage--for every dollar received in 
HOPE VI revitalization grants awarded through fiscal year 2001--an 
additional $1.85 in funds from other sources.[Footnote 15] Our report 
also noted that HUD had not reported annual leveraging and cost 
information about the HOPE VI program to the Congress, as it had been 
required to do since 1998. Consequently, we recommended that HUD 
provide annual reports on the program, including information on the 
amounts and sources of funding used at HOPE VI sites, to Congress. In 
response to this recommendation, in December 2002, HUD began issuing 
annual reports that include funding information. 

We also found in the November 2002 report that housing agencies with 
HOPE VI revitalization grants expected to leverage $295 million in 
additional funds for community and supportive services. In our most 
recent report concerning public housing (December 2005), we found that 
PHAs have used HOPE VI revitalization grants to leverage additional 
funds from a variety of sources, including private loans.[Footnote 16] 
In particular, we noted an example of a renovation and the colocation 
of supportive services that were made possible through coordination of 
efforts and use of mixed financing--the Allegheny County Housing 
Authority's revitalization of the Homestead Apartments outside of 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The housing agency built space on-site for 
two nonprofit elder-care service providers in addition to remodeling 
the buildings. Approximately 67 percent of the funding for the 
Homestead renovation was based on Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. Under 
this program, states are authorized to allocate federal tax credits as 
an incentive to the private sector to develop rental housing for low- 
income households. While this represents a way for private capital to 
be used in conjunction with public housing projects, we noted in our 
November 2002 report that such funding does entail a federal cost (in 
the form of taxes foregone).[Footnote 17] 

Community Services Organizations May Provide Supportive Services to 
Public Housing Residents: 

PHAs may utilize community service organizations to provide supportive 
services to public housing residents. Our recent work has focused on 
the services that PHAs can provide to elderly and non-elderly persons 
with disabilities. 

In a February 2005 report on housing programs that offer assistance for 
the elderly, we identified programs that public housing agencies can 
use to assist elderly public housing residents.[Footnote 18] For 
example, through the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) 
grant program, HUD awards grants to PHAs for the purpose of linking 
residents with supportive services. Also, HUD's Service Coordinator 
Program provides funding for PHA managers of public housing designated 
for the elderly or persons with disabilities to hire coordinators to 
assist residents in obtaining supportive services from community 
agencies; and its Congregate Housing Services Program provides grants 
for the delivery of meals and nonmedical supportive services to 
residents of public and multifamily housing who are elderly or have 
disabilities. 

For our December 2005 report on public housing for the elderly and 
persons with disabilities, we surveyed the directors of 46 PHAs that 
manage public housing developments that we identified as both severely 
distressed and primarily occupied by the elderly and persons with 
disabilities.[Footnote 19] This work identified examples of 
partnerships between PHAs and local organizations such as community- 
based nonprofits and churches to provide supportive services for the 
elderly and non-elderly persons with disabilities. In some cases, the 
local agencies paid for the services, while in others the housing 
agencies used federal grants. For example: 

* A building manager for one development that we visited said the 
development partnered with a nearby church, which provided a van to 
take residents shopping once a week. Local churches also provided food 
assistance to elderly residents and residents with disabilities who 
were not able to leave their apartments. 

* At another housing development, a community-based organization 
provided lunches on a daily basis to residents and assorted grocery 
items such as bread, fruit, and cereal on a weekly basis. 

* The aforementioned Homestead Apartments--a high-rise, primarily 
elderly occupied public housing development--was revitalized to provide 
enhanced supportive services to elderly residents, in particular frail 
elderly residents. To do so, the housing agency partnered with several 
non-HUD entities to improve services for the elderly and colocate an 
assisted living type of facility at the development. To help the most 
frail elderly residents, the housing agency partnered with a nonprofit 
organization, which offers complete nursing services, meals, and 
physical therapy to Homestead residents who are enrolled in the 
program. For most participants, these comprehensive services permitted 
them to continue living at home. 

* In a partnership in Seattle, Washington, the housing agency partnered 
with a community-based organization to provide an on-site community 
center for the elderly, where residents had access to meals, social 
activities, and assistance with filling prescriptions. Residents at 
this development also had access to an on-site health clinic. 

In summary, Mr. Chairman, over the past few years we have identified 
several ways for HUD to improve its administration of the public 
housing program. Our work has also identified challenges faced by the 
local public housing agencies that play such an essential program 
delivery role, not only those associated with implementing the reforms 
provided under QHWRA but also such day-to-day matters as correctly 
determining tenants' incomes and rents. We look forward to working with 
the Subcommittee as it considers the future of the public housing 
program. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. I would be happy to 
answer any questions at this time. 

Contacts and Acknowledgments: 

For further information on this testimony, please contact David G. Wood 
at (202) 512-8678. Individuals making key contributions to this 
testimony included Isidro Gomez, Lisa Moore, David Pittman, Paul 
Schmidt, and Julie Trinder. 

[End of section] 

Related Products: 

Public Housing: Distressed Conditions in Developments for the Elderly 
and Persons with Disabilities and Strategies Used for Improvement. GAO- 
06-163. Washington, D.C.: December 9, 2005. 

Project-Based Rental Assistance: HUD Should Streamline Its Processes to 
Ensure Timely Housing Assistance Payments. GAO-06-57. Washington, D.C.: 
November 15, 2005. 

HUD Rental Assistance: Progress and Challenges in Measuring and 
Reducing Improper Rent Subsidies. GAO-05-224. Washington, D.C.: 
February 18, 2005. 

Elderly Housing: Federal Housing Programs That Offer Assistance for the 
Elderly. GAO-05-174. Washington, D.C.: February 14, 2005. 

Public Housing: HOPE VI Resident Issues and Changes in Neighborhoods 
Surrounding Grant Sites. GAO-04-109. Washington, D.C.: November 21, 
2003. 

Public Housing: Small and Larger Agencies Have Similar Views on Many 
Recent Housing Reforms. GAO-04-19. Washington, D.C.: October 30, 2003. 

Public Housing: HUD's Oversight of HOPE VI Sites Needs to Be More 
Consistent. GAO-03-555. Washington, D.C.: May 30, 2003. 

Public Housing: Information on Receiverships at Public Housing 
Authorities. GAO-03-363. Washington, D.C.: February 14, 2003. 

Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Housing 
and Urban Development. GAO-03-103. Washington, D.C.: January 1, 2003. 

Public Housing: HOPE VI Leveraging Has Increased, but HUD Has Not Met 
Annual Reporting Requirement. GAO-03-91. Washington, D.C.: November 15, 
2002. 

HUD Human Capital Management: Comprehensive Strategic Workforce 
Planning Needed. GAO-02-839. Washington, D.C.: July 24, 2002. 

Public Housing: HUD and Public Housing Agencies' Experiences with 
Fiscal Year 2000 Plan Requirements. GAO-02-572. Washington, D.C.: May 
31, 2002. 

Public Housing: New Assessment System Holds Potential for Evaluating 
Performance. GAO-02-282. Washington, D.C.: March 15, 2002. 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] GAO, Public Housing: HUD and Public Housing Agencies' Experiences 
with Fiscal Year 2000 Plan Requirements, GAO-02-572 (Washington, D.C.: 
May 31, 2002). 

[2] GAO, Public Housing: Small and Larger Agencies Have Similar Views 
on Many Recent Housing Reforms, GAO-04-19 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 30, 
2003). 

[3] GAO, Public Housing: HUD's Oversight of HOPE VI Sites Needs to Be 
More Consistent, GAO-03-555 (Washington, D.C.: May 30, 2003). 

[4] GAO, Public Housing: New Assessment System Holds Potential for 
Evaluating Performance, GAO-02-282 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 15, 2002). 

[5] GAO, HUD Human Capital Management: Comprehensive Strategic 
Workforce Planning Needed. GAO-02-839 (Washington, D.C.: July 24, 
2002). 

[6] GAO-04-19. 

[7] GAO, HUD Rental Assistance: Progress and Challenges in Measuring 
and Reducing Improper Rent Subsidies. GAO-05-224 (Washington, D.C.: 
Feb. 18, 2005). 

[8] GAO, Public Housing: Information on Receiverships at Public Housing 
Authorities. GAO-03-363 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 14, 2003). 

[9] GAO-03-555. 

[10] Some of QHWRA's provisions went into effect when QHWRA was enacted 
on October 21, 1998, while other provisions took effect later. 

[11] GAO-02-572. 

[12] GAO-04-19. 

[13] GAO, Public Housing: HOPE VI Leveraging Has Increased, but HUD Has 
Not Met Annual Reporting Requirement, GAO-03-91 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 
15, 2002). 

[14] GAO, Public Housing: HOPE VI Resident Issues and Changes in 
Neighborhoods Surrounding Grant Sites, GAO-04-109, (Washington, D.C.: 
Nov. 21, 2003). 

[15] GAO-03-91. 

[16] GAO, Public Housing: Distressed Conditions in Developments for the 
Elderly and Persons with Disabilities and Strategies Used for 
Improvement, GAO-06-163 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 9, 2005). 

[17] GAO-03-91. 

[18] GAO, Elderly Housing: Federal Housing Programs That Offer 
Assistance for the Elderly, GAO-05-174 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 14, 
2005). 

[19] GAO-06-163.