Housing and Community Grants: HUD Needs to Enhance Its Requirements and Oversight of Jurisdictions' Fair Housing Plans
Pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations require grantees, such as cities, that receive federal funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to further fair housing opportunities. In particular, grantees are required to prepare planning documents known as Analyses of Impediments (AI), which are to identify impediments to fair housing (such as restrictive zoning or segregated housing) and actions to overcome them. HUD has oversight responsibility for AIs. This report (1) assesses both the conformance of CDBG and HOME grantees AIs' with HUD guidance pertaining to their timeliness and content and their potential usefulness as planning tools and (2) identifies factors in HUD's requirements and oversight that may help explain any AI weaknesses. GAO requested AIs from a representative sample of the nearly 1,200 grantees, compared the 441 AIs received (95 percent response based on final sample of 466) with HUD guidance and conducted work at HUD headquarters and 10 offices nationwide.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Housing and Urban Development||To better ensure that grantees' AIs serve as an effective tool for grantees to identify and address impediments to fair housing, HUD should expeditiously complete its new regulation pertaining to the affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) requirements.||
In response to GAO's recommendation, HUD published a proposed rule relating to requirements intended to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) on July 19, 2013. Among other things, the proposed rule would provide grantees with a clearly articulated definition of AFFH; a prescribed assessment template (Assessment of Fair Housing) for identifying impediments to fair housing replacing the current Analysis of Impediments (AIs); nationally uniform data on patterns of integration and segregation; and better guidance and technical assistance.
|Department of Housing and Urban Development||HUD should establish standards for grantees to follow in updating their AIs and the format that they should follow in preparing the documents.||
In response to GAO's recommendation, HUD published a proposed rule relating to requirements for affirmatively furthering fair housing on July 19, 2013. Among other things, the proposed rule would replace the Analysis of Impediments with an Assessment of Fair Housing with standardized data elements and format.
|Department of Housing and Urban Development||To facilitate efforts to measure grantees' progress in addressing identified impediments to fair housing and to help ensure transparency and accountability, as part of the AI format, HUD should require grantees to include time frames for implementing recommendations and the signatures of responsible officials.||
In response to GAO's recommendation, HUD published a proposed rule on July 19, 2013. Among other things, the proposed rule required grantees to complete more comprehensive Assessment of Fair Housing (which will replace the Analysis of Impediments) with actions the grantee plans to take within the next year that are signed by responsible officials.
|Department of Housing and Urban Development||HUD should require, at a minimum, that grantees submit their AIs to the department on a routine basis and that HUD staff verify the timeliness of the documents, determine whether they adhere to established format requirements, assess the progress that grantees are achieving in addressing identified impediments, and help ensure the consistency between the AIs and other required grantee reports, such as the Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report.||
In response to GAO's recommendation, HUD published a proposed rule relating to requirements for affirmatively furthering fair housing on July 19, 2013. Among other things, the proposed rule would require grantees to submit their Assessment of Fair Housing report (which will replace the Analysis of Impediments) to HUD in advance of other required reports (such as the consolidated plan) so that these documents could inform strategies and actions in the other plans.