Weaknesses in the Planning and Utilization of Rental Housing for Persons in Wheelchairs

CED-81-45: Published: Jun 19, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1981.

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GAO reviewed Federal efforts to provide housing designed especially for the needs of people who use wheelchairs to determine whether the Departments of Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) goals to produce wheelchair-accessible housing units were reasonable and being complied with and if people in wheelchairs were occupying the special housing units.

Housing units produced under HUD and Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) programs and designed especially for people who use wheelchairs are not being produced efficiently or rented primarily to wheelchair users. A GAO review showed that only 27 percent of the units were occupied by persons using wheelchairs. The HUD and FmHA goals for constructing these units were based on inadequate data. The agencies did not have the essential data needed to establish and evaluate policies relating to housing people who use wheelchairs such as: the total number of accessible units in existence under their programs, the number of people using wheelchairs who occupy the units, and the people's characteristics such as their age and income. There was limited occupancy of accessible units by wheelchair users because the agencies do not require accessible units to be occupied by people using wheelchairs, project sponsors do not always have effective outreach programs to advertise the availability of accessible units and rental assistance projects do not often have services such as personal attendant care which people in wheelchairs may need to live independently, and projects have restrictions based on age or ability to live independently which preclude certain people from living in them. Almost no coordination exists between HUD, FmHA, and Federal, State, and local organizations providing services to people in wheelchairs living in HUD or FmHA assisted housing projects.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should require project managers to give persons who use wheelchairs priority for the accessible units. One way of accomplishing this is to require project managers to maintain separate waiting lists for the accessible units and give people in wheelchairs priority regardless of when they apply for admission.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should require project managers to give persons who use wheelchairs priority for the accessible units. One way of accomplishing this is to require project managers to maintain separate waiting lists for the accessible units and give people in wheelchairs priority regardless of when they apply for admission.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should establish procedures for project managers to use to advertise the availability of accessible units and rental assistance, including contacting public and private organizations serving people in wheelchairs to obtain greater participation of people who use wheelchairs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should establish procedures for project managers to use to advertise the availability of accessible units and rental assistance, including contacting public and private organizations serving people in wheelchairs to obtain greater participation of people who use wheelchairs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should identify those elderly projects which do not admit nonelderly disabled persons or which require persons to live totally independent and notify the project sponsors that the restrictions must be removed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should identify those elderly projects which do not admit nonelderly disabled persons or which require persons to live totally independent and notify the project sponsors that the restrictions must be removed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  7. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD, HHS, Agriculture, and Education should work with State and local social service and welfare organizations to coordinate housing with the other services people in wheelchairs need.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  8. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD, HHS, Agriculture, and Education should work with State and local social service and welfare organizations to coordinate housing with the other services people in wheelchairs need.

    Agency Affected: Department of Education

  9. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD, HHS, Agriculture, and Education should work with State and local social service and welfare organizations to coordinate housing with the other services people in wheelchairs need.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  10. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD, HHS, Agriculture, and Education should work with State and local social service and welfare organizations to coordinate housing with the other services people in wheelchairs need.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  11. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should require that the Annual Housing Survey be used periodically to gather data relating to people in wheelchairs, such as the total number in the United States and their geographic location, age, income, family size, and need for federally subsidized housing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  12. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should require that the Annual Housing Survey be used periodically to gather data relating to people in wheelchairs, such as the total number in the United States and their geographic location, age, income, family size, and need for federally subsidized housing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  13. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should eliminate the nationwide 5 and 10 percent goals and establish geographical (e.g., local or regional) goals for constructing accessible units in family and elderly projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  14. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should eliminate the nationwide 5 and 10 percent goals and establish geographical (e.g., local or regional) goals for constructing accessible units in family and elderly projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  15. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should, in approving projects, determine whether the geographical goals as established are realistic by doing a market analysis of the demand for accessible units in each project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  16. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should, in approving projects, determine whether the geographical goals as established are realistic by doing a market analysis of the demand for accessible units in each project.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  17. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should establish adequate criteria for project sponsors to use to implement the goal for constructing accessible units in family projects. Such criteria should include guidance on the type of unit (accessible or other), number of bedrooms in the unit, and under what circumstances exceptions will be allowed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  18. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should establish adequate criteria for project sponsors to use to implement the goal for constructing accessible units in family projects. Such criteria should include guidance on the type of unit (accessible or other), number of bedrooms in the unit, and under what circumstances exceptions will be allowed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  19. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should have their management information systems compile data on the number of accessible units constructed and the number and characteristics such as the age, income, family size, and rent paid by the people in wheelchairs living in assisted units.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  20. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should have their management information systems compile data on the number of accessible units constructed and the number and characteristics such as the age, income, family size, and rent paid by the people in wheelchairs living in assisted units.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  21. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should periodically compile directories of projects with assisted accessible housing units which contain information on location, number of bedrooms, rental costs, services available, and availability for occupancy and disseminate the directories to organizations serving people who use wheelchairs so they can assist people seeking this type of housing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  22. Status: Closed

    Comments: GAO has no information on the actions taken in response to this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of HUD and Agriculture should periodically compile directories of projects with assisted accessible housing units which contain information on location, number of bedrooms, rental costs, services available, and availability for occupancy and disseminate the directories to organizations serving people who use wheelchairs so they can assist people seeking this type of housing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

 

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