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    Subject Term: "Housing assistance"

    7 publications with a total of 19 open recommendations
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop and implement a plan for ongoing monitoring, including testing and evaluation, of the obligation tool using relevant data. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to check the reasonableness of rental assistance agreement amounts calculated by the obligation tool. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should develop controls to ensure that RHS uses the inflation rates from the President's economic assumptions in developing budget estimates. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of RHS should provide guidance to Rural Development state offices that specifies that prior to obligating funds, staff are to review information related to a property's mortgage servicing status. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Department of Agriculture: Rural Housing Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve VA's supportive-housing EUL program and meet the needs of homeless veterans, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Asset Enterprise Management to clearly and completely document the selection process for all supportive-housing EULs from pre-development through completion of VA's development phase in keeping with internal control standards and VA policy.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: On September 19, 2017, an official from VA's Office of Capital Operations and Program Service said that the Office of Asset Enterprise Management (OAEM) is working with the Office of Information and Technology to ensure that the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) Directive, Handbook, and Attachments are 508 compliant. This requirement is the last step in VA's internal process to certify and publish the updated EUL Directive and Handbook. Once OAEM receives an estimate when this process will be completed, VA will provide GAO a status update with the expected completion date for the updated EUL Directive and Handbook.
    Recommendation: To improve VA's supportive-housing EUL program and meet the needs of homeless veterans, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Office of Asset Enterprise Management to update its EUL policy to (1) address the current authority for developing supportive-housing; and (2) specify how to identify properties for supportive-housing EULs to meet the needs of homeless veterans.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: On September 19, 2017, an official from VA's Office of Capital Operations and Program Service said that the Office of Asset Enterprise Management (OAEM) is working with the Office of Information and Technology to ensure that the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) Directive, Handbook, and Attachments are 508 compliant. This requirement is the last step in VA's internal process to certify and publish the updated EUL Directive and Handbook. Once OAEM receives an estimate when this process will be completed, VA will provide GAO a status update with the expected completion date for the updated EUL Directive and Handbook.
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should implement HUD's guidance on processes to improve the accuracy of information on Section 202 properties with budget-based service coordinators, and take steps to evaluate whether the guidance has improved the reliability of this information.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that the Multifamily Housing's Office of Program Systems Management is working to make adaptive changes to iREMS to better support data for the Service Coordinator program. Upon completion of this effort, written instructions will be made available in the iREMS user guide. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should develop and implement written guidance that describes how HUD staff should assess Section 202 properties' compliance with the program's supportive services requirement. Such guidance should include information on the roles and responsibilities of HUD staff for (1) identifying stand-alone Section 202 properties and (2) monitoring the supportive services requirement for Section 202 properties with grant- and budget-based service coordinators, Section 202 properties that do not have service coordinators, and stand-alone Section 202 properties.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that it is in the process of working with a consulting firm to develop guidance and training related to Quality Assurance providers (which Section 202 properties have the option of funding to oversee the quality of Service Coordinators). The guidance is intended to standardize the role of Quality Assurance providers. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 2017. HUD also noted that it will create a working group to develop additional guidance that might assist in monitoring the supportive services requirement for Section 202 properties, including stand-alone properties. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 2019.
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should develop and implement policies and procedures for (1) verifying the accuracy of a sample of the performance information that Section 202 properties submit through semiannual performance reports and (2) analyzing the performance information collected.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that it is developing a new grant reporting framework, which will be piloted in 2017. According to HUD, the pilot will inform HUD's efforts to improve reporting, verification, and analysis of performance data related to HUD's grant programs. HUD plans to complete this effort by October 2017.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To build upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rental Policy Working Group's efforts to improve coordination of rental assistance, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in consultation with the Rental Policy Working Group, should work with states and localities to develop an approach for compiling and reporting on the collective performance of federal, state, and local rental assistance programs. Such an effort may begin with one or more pilots to test approaches before they are considered for wider application.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, a HUD official said HUD is still working to respond to the GAO recommendation. He said HUD is currently in the planning stages for updating the existing "Picture of Subsidized Housing" database to add the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and HOME programs and that including LIHTC and HOME will give a more complete picture of governmental assistance since LIHTC is often combined with other subsidies and HOME funds are often put into state housing trust funds and issued together with funding from state revenue sources.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2017, HUD provided us with documentation that an interagency Coordinated Environmental Review Process Workgroup was formed and included representatives from HUD, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, HHS, Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The workgroup focused on identifying measures that could be taken to coordinate agencies' environmental review processes within the existing framework, and in December 2015, presented 12 recommendations in a final report. The recommendations included developing common categorical exclusions; providing training for agency staff and tribes; continuing review of related environmental laws and authorities to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies; creating regional consortiums; and establishing an ongoing environmental review interagency workgroup. In addition, the workgroup developed a draft implementation plan, and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding whose stated purpose is "to further the shared goals of the parties to ensure comprehensive NEPA environmental reviews while facilitating access to federal assistance for housing and housing-related infrastructure projects in Indian Country involving multiple agencies by avoiding duplication of analyses and ensuring efficient environmental review processes for both tribes and agencies".
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Indian Health Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2017, HUD provided us with documentation that an interagency Coordinated Environmental Review Process Workgroup was formed and included representatives from HUD, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, HHS, Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The workgroup focused on identifying measures that could be taken to coordinate agencies' environmental review processes within the existing framework, and in December 2015, presented 12 recommendations in a final report. The recommendations included developing common categorical exclusions; providing training for agency staff and tribes; continuing review of related environmental laws and authorities to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies; creating regional consortiums; and establishing an ongoing environmental review interagency workgroup. In addition, the workgroup developed a draft implementation plan, and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding whose stated purpose is "to further the shared goals of the parties to ensure comprehensive NEPA environmental reviews while facilitating access to federal assistance for housing and housing-related infrastructure projects in Indian Country involving multiple agencies by avoiding duplication of analyses and ensuring efficient environmental review processes for both tribes and agencies".
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2017, HUD provided us with documentation that an interagency Coordinated Environmental Review Process Workgroup was formed and included representatives from HUD, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, HHS, Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The workgroup focused on identifying measures that could be taken to coordinate agencies' environmental review processes within the existing framework, and in December 2015, presented 12 recommendations in a final report. The recommendations included developing common categorical exclusions; providing training for agency staff and tribes; continuing review of related environmental laws and authorities to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies; creating regional consortiums; and establishing an ongoing environmental review interagency workgroup. In addition, the workgroup developed a draft implementation plan, and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding whose stated purpose is "to further the shared goals of the parties to ensure comprehensive NEPA environmental reviews while facilitating access to federal assistance for housing and housing-related infrastructure projects in Indian Country involving multiple agencies by avoiding duplication of analyses and ensuring efficient environmental review processes for both tribes and agencies".
    Recommendation: To increase consistency and reduce time and predevelopment cost for NAHASDA grant recipients, an interagency effort similar to that of the federal infrastructure task force but specific to tribal housing should be initiated with participants from the Indian Health Service, HUD, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a coordinated environmental review process for all agencies overseeing tribal housing development. In addition, the agencies should determine if it would be appropriate to designate a lead agency in this effort.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2017, HUD provided us with documentation that an interagency Coordinated Environmental Review Process Workgroup was formed and included representatives from HUD, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), USDA, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, HHS, Interior, and the Department of Transportation. The workgroup focused on identifying measures that could be taken to coordinate agencies' environmental review processes within the existing framework, and in December 2015, presented 12 recommendations in a final report. The recommendations included developing common categorical exclusions; providing training for agency staff and tribes; continuing review of related environmental laws and authorities to identify opportunities for greater efficiencies; creating regional consortiums; and establishing an ongoing environmental review interagency workgroup. In addition, the workgroup developed a draft implementation plan, and drafted a Memorandum of Understanding whose stated purpose is "to further the shared goals of the parties to ensure comprehensive NEPA environmental reviews while facilitating access to federal assistance for housing and housing-related infrastructure projects in Indian Country involving multiple agencies by avoiding duplication of analyses and ensuring efficient environmental review processes for both tribes and agencies".
    Director: Garcia-diaz, Daniel
    Phone: (202) 512-4529

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Through their rental policy working group and single-family program task force, HUD, USDA, and Treasury have continued their efforts to improve operations and better coordinate and align certain requirements among the agencies' multifamily and single-family housing programs. For example, in 2014, the agencies implemented a pilot in 26 states and 808 multifamily housing properties to test the feasibility of conducting a single physical inspection that would satisfy all agencies' inspection requirements. Additionally, HUD, USDA, and Treasury signed a memorandum of understanding in November 2016 to formalize interagency efforts on federal rental housing policy. They are also developing a white paper to document the history and best practices of the rental policy working group. Further, USDA's Rural Housing Service (RHS) has entered into a shared service agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to manage real-estate owned (REO) preservation and disposition of single-family properties acquired through RHS's direct loan program. RHS stated that it also meets with FHA and VA to discuss single-family housing issues and opportunities for collaboration. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the current administration may reevaluate ongoing collaborative efforts across the different agencies, which could have implications for housing program consolidation. OMB has participated in interagency discussions on federal housing assistance, credit budgeting, and management of HUD, VA, and USDA housing programs. Nonetheless, the charters of both the rental policy working group and the single-family program task force limit their missions to issues that can be dealt with administratively. As of March 2017, neither group has reported on the areas where specific statutory changes are needed to help mitigate overlap and fragmentation and decrease costs.
    Recommendation: To build on task force and working group efforts already underway to coordinate, consolidate, or improve housing programs, and help inform Congress's decision-making process, the Secretaries or other designated officials of HUD, Treasury, USDA, and VA should evaluate and report on the specific opportunities for consolidating similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to the draft report, VA concurred in principle with this recommendation but would not support unilateral reporting and evaluation in this area. VA maintains that the consolidation of the VA Home Guarantee Program with housing program of HUD or another agency is counter to statute that authorizes that its program be operated by VA. VA participates in the single-family interagency task force, along with HUD, USDA, and OMB. A tangible result from that task force is that VA has established an inter-agency agreement with USDA in an effort to increase efficiency and reduce costs by using VA processes for disposing of USDA real estate assets. However, the task force's charter limits its mission to issues that can be dealt with administratively and thus has not reported on areas where specific statutory changes are needed. The recommendation calls for the Secretaries or other designated officials to evaluate and report on opportunities to consolidate similar housing programs, including those that would require statutory changes. As such, the recommendation will stay open until the agencies provide sufficient evidence that they are working together to identify such opportunities. According to the VA, the agency will not take any action to identify opportunities that require statutory changes.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help estimate, reduce, and recover improper payments in the Section 521 rental assistance program, the Secretary of Agriculture should draft proposed legislation for congressional consideration that would grant RHS access to SSA benefits data for purposes of verifying tenant incomes.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 2016, USDA had not drafted proposed legislation that would grant RHS access to SSA benefits data.