Internal Controls:

Indian Housing Controls Improved But Need Strengthening

RCED-87-148: Published: Aug 5, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1987.

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GAO reviewed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) actions to correct weaknesses in its Housing Improvement Program (HIP), which provides grants to Indian families living in substandard or inadequate housing to: (1) make repairs; (2) make down payments for home purchases; and (3) finance construction of new homes.

GAO noted that, in response to the Department of the Interior Inspector General's recommendation, BIA issued a model contract to ensure that tribes select the neediest families for assistance. GAO found that the tribes were not complying with the model contract requirements for: (1) the inventory of tribal members desiring to participate in the program; (2) tribal selection criteria; and (3) construction work plans. GAO also found that: (1) BIA is not adequately monitoring tribal compliance with contract provisions; (2) contracting officers' representatives (COR) provide insufficient monitoring of construction and repairs; and (3) BIA and tribal officials incorrectly interpreted the requirement for an inventory of housing needs of all tribal members.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Chief, Division of Housing Assistance, a program review was conducted which indicated that all GAO recommendations in the report were implemented and being carried out.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the effectiveness of the model contract, thereby ensuring that HIP funds are properly spent on the neediest Indian applicants, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to change the model contract requirement from an inventory of housing needs of all tribal members desiring to participate in HIP to an inventory of applicants.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Chief, Division of Housing Assistance, a program review was conducted which indicated that all GAO recommendations in the report were implemented and being carried out.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the effectiveness of the model contract, thereby ensuring that HIP funds are properly spent on the neediest Indian applicants, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to require BIA to periodically test tribal application of selection criteria.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Chief, Division of Housing Assistance, a program review was conducted which indicated that all GAO recommendations in the report were implemented and being carried out.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the effectiveness of the model contract, thereby ensuring that HIP funds are properly spent on the neediest Indian applicants, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to require COR to verify that planned construction is carried out; if they do not have the engineering expertise to assess quality, COR should make use of construction expertise at area offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Chief, Division of Housing Assistance, a program review was conducted which indicated that all GAO recommendations in the report were implemented and being carried out.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the effectiveness of the model contract, thereby ensuring that HIP funds are properly spent on the neediest Indian applicants, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to require contracting officers and COR to enforce the model contract provisions requiring the submission of documents, such as inventories of applicants, which help BIA monitor the operation of the program.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Chief, Division of Housing Assistance, a program review was conducted which indicated that all GAO recommendations in the report were implemented and being carried out.

    Recommendation: In order to improve the effectiveness of the model contract, thereby ensuring that HIP funds are properly spent on the neediest Indian applicants, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to clarify the level of detail required in drawings and specifications and the description of repairs.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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