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We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) based on our report on HUD’s top management challenges for fiscal years 2020 through 2022 and HUD’s strategic goals and objectives reported in its strategic plan for 2018 through 2022.  Our audit objective was to assess the effectiveness of HUD’s SEMAP as a performance measure for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program.

HUD has an opportunity to improve its process for evaluating the performance of public housing agencies’ (PHA) HCV Programs.  HUD uses SEMAP to evaluate the performance of PHAs’ HCV Programs remotely.  However, (1) the information reported by PHAs in SEMAP may not have accurately represented the performance of their HCV Programs and (2) HUD’s process for verifying the information PHAs use for SEMAP reporting did not effectively assist HUD in evaluating and identifying PHAs’ HCV Programs that may have needed improvement.  These conditions occurred because (1) SEMAP uses performance indicators that are based on PHAs’ self-certifications and self-reported data and (2) HUD’s verification process did not capture the performance of all PHAs’ HCV Programs.  Without an effective performance measurement process, HUD lacked assurance that PHAs’ HCV Programs met their intended objectives, which include assisting the maximum number of eligible families with obtaining affordable and decent rental units at the correct subsidy cost.  In addition, HUD may have missed opportunities to identify PHAs experiencing difficulties in managing their HCV Programs.

We recommend that HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs enhance SEMAP or develop a new performance measurement process that would identify PHAs with underperforming HCV Programs.  We also recommend that HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations provide training and guidance to its program staff on SEMAP scoring, rating, and verification procedures, including confirmatory reviews, quality control reviews, and adjustments for the current and revised SEMAP processes.