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 public housing agencies. We initiated the audit as part of our examination of relief efforts provided by the federal government in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Our audit objectives were to determine whether HUD (1) properly determined the eligibility of KDHAP/DVP participants and (2) implemented adequate measures to prevent KDHAP/DVP participants from receiving duplicate housing assistance from other HUD housing programs.
HUD did not always ensure that only eligible KDHAP/DVP participants received disaster housing assistance. This condition occurred because during its development of the Disaster Information System, HUD included names of participants who were not residing in HUD-assisted dwellings immediately before the Hurricane Katrina evacuation. In addition, HUD did not specify in the family eligibility requirements for KDHAP/DVP that families with regular vouchers that were searching for housing but never had a housing assistance payments contract executed on their behalf in the disaster area were ineligible for these programs. As a result, as of August 31, 2007, $760,317 in federal funds had been misspent for 84 KDHAP/DVP participants who were ineligible for disaster assistance. If ineligible costs continue to be incurred, HUD could spend an additional $153,808 on ineligible participants from September 2007 to the end of the program. However, these 84 participants count as less than 1 percent of the total number of participants according to the KDHAP Information System.
We will report the results of our review regarding the adequacy of HUD’s measures to prevent duplicate housing assistance in a separate audit report.
We recommend that HUD’s Director of Housing Voucher Programs take appropriate actions deemed necessary to recover or write off the $760,317 in federal funds that was misspent on 84 ineligible participants, immediately cease paying funding on the participants ineligible for KDHAP and/or DVP to prevent misspending $153,808 in federal funds, and take appropriate actions to remove any other ineligible participants from the Disaster Information System.