Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation Commission's Program

CED-81-139: Published: Jul 2, 1981. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation Commission's relocation benefits, policies, and procedures to examine the costs of the Commission's relocation program, including the specific areas of replacement home benefit costs, off-reservation relocations, temporarily-away benefits, and appraisal and property acquisition.

The Commission is regularly compensating relocation households at the the maximum amounts authorized by law. Additional compensation is also paid by the Commission for dwellings and improvements owned by relocation households on the reservation. The original replacement home benefit amounts have been adjusted by the Commission, as authorized by law, for inflation on five separate occasions. The Commission's adjustment methodology has varied because: (1) the previous inflation factor was abandoned by the Commission during the third annual adjustment in favor of higher inflation index, (2) the Department of Housing and Urban Development's prototype cost areas used by the Commission have changed four times in the five adjustments, and (3) a completely revised adjustment methodology was adopted by the Commission for the fourth annual increase. Of the 72 families that occupied a reservation homesite and were relocated, 51 families or 71 percent, have moved off-reservation. Off-reservation relocations may increase total program replacement housing costs over $23 million. About 75 percent of the households that have received relocation benefits through December 1980 were classified as temporarily-away, or households not actually located on the reservation. About 1,800 applications have been received for temporarily-away households, increasing the Commission's cost estimates. The on-reservation housing conditions have required the Commission to develop a more complex appraisal methodology than would normally be expected in an off-reservation housing market.

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