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HUD Management: Impact Measurement Needed for Technical Assistance

GAO-03-12 Published: Oct 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 2002.
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Technical Assistance is an important means through which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can influence how its program funds are spent; this assistance can range from training workshops to one-on-one assistance. GAO was asked to determine how many HUD technical assistance programs Congress has authorized and their cost; why HUD offers technical assistance programs and who provides and receives the services; and whether HUD program offices are overseeing and measuring the impact of their technical assistance programs as required.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Housing and Urban Development To determine whether HUD's technical assistance programs are helping HUD programs to meet their goals, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should require the program offices that provide technical assistance programs to determine the practicability of measuring the impact of these services and, where appropriate, establish objective, quantifiable, and measurable performance goals. In addition, the Secretary should provide guidance to the program offices on how to establish such impact measures.
Closed – Implemented
HUD is working with a group of national technical assistance providers to develop a framework to assess the effectiveness of its technical assistance programs. The framework was submitted to HUD in March, 2003 for review and comment. In addition, OMB is requiring HUD and some of the technical assistance/capacity building grantees to conduct a Program Assessment Rating Tool review, designed to promote performance measurement and accountability. Furthermore, some recipients of Section 4 capacity building funds have contracted with a consultant to develop impact measurements for 23 cities across the nation. HUD has added a new rating factor (rating factor 5--achieving results and program evaluation) to its SuperNOFA process. First required in the April 2003 SuperNOFA, the new rating factor requires grant applicants, including technical assistance providers, to identify program outcomes, interim products or benchmarks, and performance indicators that will allow them to measure performance. Also, HUD also conducted a training workshop on results-oriented management and accountability for its grant management specialists that was focused on developing the language for rating factor 5.

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Community development programsFunds managementHousing programsProgram evaluationTechnical assistanceFair housingLocal governmentsCommunity developmentNonprofit organizationsPublic housing