Federal Lands:

Views on H.R. 2941--A Bill to Improve Housing for Employees of Land Management Agencies

T-RCED-96-110: Published: Mar 26, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1996.

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GAO discussed employee housing at federal land management agencies and proposed legislation that would improve the housing situation for these agencies' employees, focusing on the National Park Service (NPS). GAO noted that: (1) about 11 percent of NPS employee housing either needs major repairs or is obsolete; (2) NPS has not adequately justified about 12 percent of its employee housing inventory; (3) NPS has a large housing repair and maintenance backlog, but it could not verify the NPS estimate of a $546-million backlog; (4) insufficient rental rates and competition for operating funds that supplement rental income are the underlying reasons for the backlog; (5) NPS is implementing some GAO recommendations to improve the housing situation; (6) the proposed legislation would address some key issues that GAO has identified; (7) it is concerned that the legislation would allow the use of employee housing as a recruitment and retention incentive; and (8) the legislation would raise budget scorekeeping issues, expose land management agencies to liability by allowing them to rent temporarily unneeded housing to nongovernment employees, and cause funding priorities problems for NPS by requiring it to set aside funds from operating funds to supplement rental income.

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