We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program (KDHAP) and Disaster Voucher Program (DVP) administered by various public housing agencies. Our audit objective was to determine whether HUD established controls to ensure that the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) pre-Hurricane Katrina Housing Choice Voucher program participants did not receive duplicate assistance under KDHAP and/or DVP.
We determined that in most cases HUD ensured that KDHAP/DVP participants receiving assistance were not also receiving assistance under HANO's Housing Choice Voucher program. However, in a few instances (4 of 51), the participants received duplicate assistance. In all four cases, this occurred because HUD allowed Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership program (Homeownership program) participants to execute and receive KDHAP/DVP payments on their behalf while continuing to receive mortgage payments under the Homeownership program. HANO has continued to pay participants Homeownership program assistance payments after Hurricane Katrina to avoid placing the participants into foreclosure. Since the Housing Choice Voucher and KDHAP/DVP program regulations prohibit families from receiving assistance while receiving another housing subsidy or receiving assistance for more than one unit or a unit in which they do not reside, $13,147 in Homeownership program funds was misspent. In addition, two of the four participants also received Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding totaling $161,090 to rebuild their property, and the other two applied for assistance but had not received it as of October 2007. Finally, all four participants had also received duplicate rental assistance funding from FEMA totaling $14,655 as of September 2006. In addition, there is a risk that additional duplicate participants exist that were not detected by our testing methodology, as Social Security number information in HANO's register was not always reliable.
We recommend that the HUD's Director of Housing Choice Voucher Programs take appropriate actions to recover the ineligible funding totaling $13,147 for four duplicate participants, prevent duplicate payments by working with the lenders to rework the mortgages and suspending payment or seek a waiver for the duplicate payment prohibition for Homeownership program participants, and work with FEMA and HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development to ensure that their assistance did not duplicate HUD's rental assistance and recover any ineligible duplicate assistance payments, which currently totals $14,655.