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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act program.

Our audit objective was to determine what challenges grantees faced in using program funds for activities that prepare for, prevent, or respond to the coronavirus and its impact.  We used a survey questionnaire to gather feedback and insight directly from 1,047 program grantees. 

As of July 30, 2022, grantees had drawn more than $1.79 billion, or 36 percent, of the $4.99 billion in program funds.  We performed this audit to provide HUD, the public, and Congress with insight into the challenges that impacted the grantees in using program funds.

Grantees responding to our survey questionnaire identified many challenges they were facing in using program funds for activities that prepare for, prevent, or respond to the coronavirus and its impact.  Specifically, grantees reported facing challenges in (1) managing multiple funding sources, (2) spending program funds within required timeframes, and (3) meeting program objectives and requirements.

Grantees attributed these conditions to capacity issues, HUD’s program rules and regulations, and other competing CARES Act application and expenditure deadlines.  As a result, program funds are at risk of being recaptured if not spent by the designated deadlines to provide help to those impacted by the pandemic or for activities that prepare for, prevent, or respond to the coronavirus.

We recommend that the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development consider looking into (1) extending the spending deadline and (2) streamlining program requirements.