Fair Housing:

OMB Review of HUD Requests To Collect Information From the Public

HRD-86-33FS: Published: Nov 8, 1985. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) actions in connection with the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) proposals to collect certain types of data pertaining to its housing programs. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB has responsibility for reviewing agencies' requests to collect data from the public. GAO focused on: (1) the justification for five HUD proposals to collect data; (2) the basis upon which OMB disapproved or modified the proposals; (3) HUD appeals of the OMB actions; and (4) whether the OMB actions were consistent with the act and its implementing regulations.

GAO found that: (1) OMB disapproved a HUD proposal to collect information pertaining to the race, gender, and ethnicity of anticipated housing applicants from federally insured and assisted housing projects because the information lacked practical utility; (2) HUD did not appeal that decision and changed the relevant form and its policies on project monitoring to address the disapproval; (3) OMB disapproved a HUD proposal to continue the use of two monthly sales and rental reports for HUD-insured single-family housing projects because it did not believe that HUD needed to gather the information on a monthly basis; (4) OMB denied a subsequent HUD appeal of that decision because the need for monthly reporting was still unsubstantiated; and (5) HUD changed its monitoring practices in response to the disapproval. GAO also found that: (1) OMB and HUD are in the process of assessing the need for a minority business contracting report for single- and multi-family housing projects; (2) HUD believes that it is required by law to collect the information on minority business contracting and that a policy disagreement exists between it and OMB; (3) OMB disapproved a HUD proposal to collect addresses and other information on buildings included in HUD projects because the collection effort would have been duplicative; and (4) HUD plans to collect the building identification data on another, previously approved form.

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