HUD established procedures in the Lead Safe Housing Rule in 1999 to eliminate lead-based paint hazards, as far as practicable, in public housing. However, it did not have a plan to manage lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in public housing. Additionally, HUD generally did not monitor whether public housing agencies had implemented lead-based paint hazard reduction and documented the activities at their public housing developments. These weaknesses occurred because HUD relied on public housing agencies to implement their own methods to achieve lead-safe housing, which should have included implementing lead-based paint hazard reduction. Further, instead of monitoring public housing agencies for compliance with the lead-based paint hazard reduction procedures in the Lead Safe Housing Rule, HUD relied on public housing agencies’ annual certifications of compliance. Without a plan to manage lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in public housing and ensure that public housing agencies implemented lead-based paint hazard reduction, HUD lacked assurance that (1) families with children under 6 years of age residing in public housing were not exposed to lead-based paint hazards and, thus, protected from lead exposure and (2) its procedures for eliminating lead-based paint hazards in public housing were effective.
We recommend that the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing require the Real Estate Assessment Center in coordination with the Office of Field Operations to (1) develop a plan to manage lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in public housing, (2) determine whether public housing agencies identified as having lead-based paint in their housing developments maintain and implement a plan for controlling lead-based paint, and (3) assess the lead-based paint hazard reduction activities performed at 19 developments associated with 18 public housing agencies reviewed that did not implement interim controls or adequately document that lead-based paint had been abated or treated with interim controls. If those reduction activities did not fully abate the lead-based paint, HUD should ensure that the public housing agencies implement interim controls and ongoing maintenance and reevaluation programs.