Public Housing:

Housing Agency Officials Want More Flexibility in Replacing Deteriorated Housing

T-RCED-94-159: Published: Mar 22, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 1994.

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GAO discussed the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) efforts to provide affordable public housing for low-income families, focusing on: (1) the requirement that public housing authorities (PHA) replace every demolished public housing unit with one meeting acceptable housing standards; (2) site and neighborhood standards that seek to avoid over-concentrations of persons receiving federal assistance or minorities; and (3) HUD oversight of troubled PHA. GAO noted that: (1) HUD classifies over a dozen large PHA as troubled due to deteriorated and unlivable conditions or excessive vacancy rates; (2) until PHA can demolish troubled properties, HUD continues to pay large sums to prevent further deterioration; (3) insufficient funding for new construction and a cumbersome application process make it difficult for PHA to meet the one-for-one replacement requirement; (4) when funding is available, site and neighborhood standards pose problems for PHA officials as they try to find adequate land on which to locate the replacement housing; and (5) although most PHA believe that the HUD Public Housing Management Assessment Program is an effective tool for monitoring, its followup actions do not always provide the assistance that PHA need.

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