Housing and Urban Development:
Public and Assisted Housing Reform
T-RCED-96-25, Oct 13, 1995
GAO discussed the restructuring of public housing programs. GAO noted that: (1) public housing authorities (PHA) need sufficient flexibility to ensure that the needs of their low-income families are met, their housing stock's physical condition and market value are maintained, and affordable housing alternatives are available; (2) PHA will need an adequate transition period to attract more working families and decrease their need for federal housing subsidies; (3) proposed legislation would allow PHA to convert distressed housing projects to tenant-based assistance and expand local flexibility to establish fair market rents for smaller areas; (4) consolidating the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) section 8 voucher and certificate programs would reduce administrative costs and simplify and ensure the equity of eligibility determinations; (5) HUD resources could be severly diminished if HUD has to supervise troubled PHA more closely or assume control of more PHA; (6) an independent accreditation system may be more beneficial in evaluating the performance of PHA; and (7) integrating public housing into larger communities may be hampered by the lack of interaction between PHA and local governments, public housing residents' isolation from the community, and residents' skepticism of community development efforts.