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While working with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Program Enforcement, we noted that the Office of Public Housing did not clearly identify the certifications that public housing agencies were making in the Application for Federal Assistance, SF (standard form)-424.  As a result, we reviewed the guidance concerning the Application, with an objective to determine whether the Office of Public Housing provided clear directions and whether the guidance contained specific certifications for public housing agencies.  Additionally, we reviewed the certifications of other forms required by the operating subsidy program.

The Office of Public Housing did not clearly define or provide guidance on what public housing agencies were certifying to when applying for operating subsidy funds on the Application for Federal Assistance, SF-424.  Additionally, it did not require public housing agencies to physically sign the certifications listed on Operating Fund Calculation of Operating Subsidy, form HUD-52723.  As a result, this created challenges for HUD to pursue civil remedies against noncompliant public housing officials.

We recommend that the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs follow departmental clearance procedures and issue clarification to public housing agencies to explain what is being certified to in the Application.  We also recommended that Public Housing require public housing agencies to sign the certifications on form HUD-52723 or remove the certification.