Sneak Preview: HUD To Develop Guidance for Self-Sufficiency Rule

March 13, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service). Officials within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Public and Indian Housing plan to develop a monitoring policy by the end of June to help public housing authorities (PHAs) properly administer the community service and self-sufficiency requirement), in response to a recent HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendation.

The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 established the community service and self-sufficiency requirement to help adult public housing residents “improve their own economic and social well-being and give them a greater stake in their communities.” The requirement states that every nonexempt adult resident of public housing must contribute eight hours of community service each month or participate in an economic self-sufficiency program. Residents are exempt from the requirement if they are 62 years old or older; blind or disabled; are engaged in eligible work activities; or receiving welfare assistance, benefits or services under a state welfare program.

Nonexempt adult tenants of public housing must provide documentation showing that they should be exempt from the requirement, otherwise they must provide signed documentation of activities performed over the previous 12 months to be in compliance. HUD field officers are required to contact PHAs that show issues of noncompliance among their residents. For PHAs that continue to fail to comply, HUD could issue sanctions such as terminating, withholding or reducing assistance payments.

In a recent audit, OIG found that out of about 550,000 units nationwide, about 106,000 units were occupied by tenants that were not compliant with the community service and self-sufficiency requirement.  In addition, OIG projected that the Office of Public and Indian Housing had incorrect status codes for about 201,000 tenants because HUD lacked adequate controls to monitor compliance with the requirement. “As a result, HUD paid more than $37 million in monthly subsidies for public housing units occupied by noncompliant tenants that otherwise could have housed compliant households,” OIG said.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site).


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