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While conducting our annual audit of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD or Department) compliance with the Payment Integrity and Information Act, HUD’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) informed my office that the Department will once again be unable to estimate improper payments for the Office of Public and Indian Housing’s Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (PIH-TBRA) program and the Office of Multifamily Housing Programs’ Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program for fiscal year (FY) 2023. These are the two largest program expenditures in HUD's portfolio, totaling $45.3 billion in FY 23, or 67.5 percent of HUD's total expenditures.


Deputy Secretary

  •   2024-IG-0001-001-A

    We recommend that the Deputy Secretary Develop and execute a detailed plan and timeline for both testing and reporting estimates of improper payments in the PIH-TBRA and PBRA programs in compliance with Federal law and OMB guidance.


    In response to the Management Alert, the Deputy Secretary stated that she would provide a plan in 30 days. On April 10, 2024, the Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Secretary for Housing, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated their respective executives have been working together to develop a plan to accelerate HUD’s ability to produce statistically valid estimates. With respect to project-based rental assistance (PBRA), HUD plans to use ongoing data collection for fiscal year (FY) 2023 tier 1 and tier 2 payments to develop a statistical estimate in FY 2024. With respect to PIH-TBRA, in lieu of pursuing an estimate for the FY 2024 reporting cycle, PIH will focus on “its existing efforts to enhance PIH [IT] systems”, which HUD considers to be a more strategic use of resources. It is not clear from HUD’s response what PIH will do differently than it already had planned prior to the management alert as HUD did not provide a detailed plan or timeline for OIG review. As of June 21, 2024, a detailed plan or timeline has not been provided.


    As of June 21, 2024, HUD has not provided a detailed plan or timeline for OIG review. It remains unclear how HUD will produce an estimate in the PBRA programs in 2024 and when it will be able to produce an estimate for PIH-TBRA.

    For HUD to close this recommendation, it must finish testing the full life cycle of payments in these programs and publicly report estimates of the improper payments in them. Merely producing a plan with future action target dates is not sufficient to meet the spirit of this recommendation.

    PBRA and PIH-TBRA are the two largest program expenditures in HUD's portfolio, totaling $45.3 billion in FY 23, or 67.5 percent of HUD's total expenditures. HUD has been challenged with developing a compliant sampling methodology that can test the full payment cycle and that can be executed within the required timeframes. HUD’s sampling methodology did not test the full payment cycle. Further, the associated sample testing and statistical estimation of improper payments could not be completed in time for the required annual reporting of improper payment estimates in the Agency Financial Report (AFR), normally issued in November. To fully address this recommendation, the sampling methodology should test the full payment cycle, and the associated sample testing and statistical estimation must be completed in time to be included in the AFR.

    Implementation of this recommendation will result in HUD better safeguarding taxpayer dollars and decrease improper payments.