We performed an audit related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Disaster Recovery Data Portal. The Disaster Recovery Data Portal is a technological solution planned by HUD to facilitate the rapid and secure transmission of data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery grantees. We performed the work because HUD needs a solution to automate delivery of data to its grantees and because Congress directed HUD to prioritize the project. Our objective was to determine the status of HUD’s Disaster Recovery Data Portal and whether it would be an effective tool to assist grantees in preventing and detecting duplication of benefits when using disaster recovery and mitigation grant funds.
HUD’s Disaster Recovery Data Portal was in the initial stages of project planning to complete the application that had been partially developed in 2017. We found that (1) HUD prioritized the project but had not developed all of the required project management documents, and (2) the Disaster Recovery Data Portal has the potential, once deployed, to be an effective mechanism to assist grantees in preventing and detecting duplication of benefits. However, the project’s performance plan indicated that the Disaster Recovery Data Portal would include data from only one FEMA program, and HUD’s grantees could benefit from including additional data sources. HUD had not developed the project management documents because the project team had been waiting for congressional approval of its project plan. Until the project is completed, HUD does not have an automated system to share FEMA data with its disaster grantees. As a result, HUD personnel invest additional time and effort to deliver FEMA data to grantees using a manual process, and grantees remain burdened with the responsibility of obtaining data separately for other potential sources of duplication.
We recommended that HUD’s Office of the Chief Information Officer and Office of Policy Development and Research (1) develop the required project management documents for the Disaster Recovery Data Portal and (2) in coordination with the Office of Disaster Recovery, pursue additional data sources to incorporate into the Disaster Recovery Data Portal.