(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) plans to improve controls to reduce the likelihood that residents in public housing receive multiple subsidies under HUD rental subsidy programs, in response to a recent HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit.
HUD’s Office of Housing administers multifamily housing programs, including the Section 8 program, which provides rental subsidies for eligible tenant families residing in rental and cooperative apartment projects. In addition, PIH administers many housing subsidy programs, including tenant- and project-based vouchers and the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation and Moving to Work programs. HUD uses two systems to track multifamily housing and PIH assistance program participation: the Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System and the Public and Indian Housing Information Center. In addition, the agency uses the Enterprise Income Verification System to minimize program errors and improve the accuracy of information contained in the two participant information systems.
In a recent audit, the HUD OIG reviewed data from the two participant information systems and determined that HUD did not prevent participants from receiving multiple subsidies in 38 of the 80 files it reviewed from November 2015 to March 2016. A multiple subsidy exists when a program participant received housing assistance from more than one HUD source at the same time. “This deficiency existed because HUD did not require public housing agencies (PHAs) to run existing tenant reports at admission and did not require HUD staff to review Enterprise Income Verification reports as part of onsite housing agency reviews,” the OIG explained, adding that PHAs did not run the existing tenant search during the application process in 27 of the 38 instances of multiple subsidies identified. “As a result, HUD did not have $2.24 million available to assist other eligible participants.”
HUD rules in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) at 24 C.F.R. Part 5.233 state that PHAs must use HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification System in its entirety. However, HUD Notice 2010-19, which provides guidance for effective and mandated use of the system and lists reports that PHAs should use to reduce administrative and subsidy payment errors, does not include an existing tenant search on that list.
“The existing tenant search report shows whether a person may potentially be receiving housing subsidies in both public housing and multifamily programs,” the OIG added. “Requiring new providers to specifically use this report to identify tenants who are receiving housing assistance from another source and to contact that other source for follow-up would help prevent overlapping of assistance.”
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