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Document

We audited the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.  The audit is part of the activities in our fiscal year 2019 audit plan.  The audit objective was to determine whether HUD had adequate oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.

HUD did not have adequate oversight of public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.  Specifically, it did not always (1) obtain sufficient documentation to support that a public housing development was either exempt from or complied with the Lead Safe Housing Rule and (2) review all potential cases of noncompliance.  HUD also did not ensure that public housing agencies reported accurate construction dates of housing developments to determine the applicability of the Rule.  As a result, HUD lacked assurance that public housing agencies complied with the Lead Safe Housing Rule, thus potentially exposing children under 6 years of age to lead-based paint hazards. 

We recommend that the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing require the Office of Field Operations to ensure that (1) its staff appropriately determine exemptions from the Lead Safe Housing Rule and documents support of the determinations; (2) its staff determines whether children under 6 years of age reside in an exempt development; (3) the developments without sufficient support of an exemption either support the exemption status or complete the required lead-based paint inspections and provide the documentation to the appropriate field office; (4) the potentially noncompliant developments are reported in its response tracking system and reviewed for compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule; (5) timeframes for reporting potentially noncompliant developments in its tracking system, monitoring public housing agencies for compliance, and implementing corrective actions and resolution are established; (6) a frame work for administrative action for noncompliant public housing agencies is developed; and (7) public housing agencies accurately report construction dates of their housing developments. 

Recommendations

Key Details
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  Open
  Closed
Funds Put to Better Use
Funds Put to Better Use

Recommendations that funds be put to better use estimate funds that could be used more efficiently. For example, recommendations that funds be put to better use could result in reductions in spending, deobligation of funds, or avoidance of unnecessary spending.

Questioned Costs
Questioned Costs

Recommendations with questioned costs identify costs: (A) resulting from an alleged violation of a law, regulation, contract, grant, or other document or agreement governing the use of Federal funds; (B) that are not supported by adequate documentation (also known as an unsupported cost); or (C) that appear unnecessary or unreasonable.

Sensitive
Sensitive

Sensitive information refers to information that could have a damaging import if released to the public and, therefore, must be restricted from public disclosure.

Priority
Priority

We believe these open recommendations, if implemented, will have the greatest impact on helping HUD achieve its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.

Public and Indian Housing

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-A
    Priority

    Closed on September 05, 2023

    Ensure that its staff appropriately determines exemptions from the Lead Safe Housing Rule and documents support of the determinations.


    Corrective Action Taken

    In June 2023, HUD publicly issued Notice 2023-16, Implementation of National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) Administrative Procedures, providing guidance covering the process and operational requirements for HUD’s public housing programs that clarifies for its staff (1) actions that should be taken by the PHA and (2) documentation that must be provided to support that a housing unit is exempt from the Lead Safe Housing Rule. The guidance describes the process that a PHA or property owners and/or agents must take when a NSPIRE inspection identifies deteriorated paint in a property or housing unit. Specifically, the PHA or property owners and/or agents should first verify that the property or housing unit is considered “target housing,” and if so, determine whether it is exempt from the Lead Safe Housing Rule. If an exemption applies, documentation such as, a lease or other residency agreement that affirms that the property is designated exclusively for occupancy by the elderly or persons with disabilities must be provided to HUD. Other residency agreements could include a HUD-approved designated housing plan, property deed or charter, or occupancy restrictions approved by HUD or the PHA’s board of commissioners. The PHA or property owners and/or agency must also affirm whether children under the age of 6 years reside in the property.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-B
    Priority

    Closed on September 22, 2023

    Ensure that its staff determines whether a child under 6 years of age resides in an exempted development. If a child is determined to reside in an exempted development take appropriate actions in accordance with its internal policies


    Corrective Action Taken

    The Office of Field Operations (OFO) updated the Lead-Based Paint Response Tracker’s Standard Protocol and Roles and Responsibilities to identify the roles and responsibilities of HUD’s headquarters and field office level staff in ensuring PHAs’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR). The protocol provides that the OFO field office staff work directly with PHAs to resolve issues of noncompliance with the LSHR and other Lead-based paint (LBP) guidance by responding to or escalating questions/issues to the headquarters team, directing PHAs to available training and resources on HUD.gov or HUD Exchange, and working with PHAs to obtain sufficient documentation to close an LBP case in the LBP tracker promptly. In regards to a child under 6 years of age residing in an exempted development, staff from the field offices must upload supporting documentation determining whether a pregnant lady or child six years old or younger lives in the development, collect missing information, if applicable, coordinate with OFO team to close cases in the LBP response tracker, indicate in the LBP response tracker if the PHA has provided the documents or if the property is exempt and upload supporting documents.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-C

    Ensure that the 55 developments without sufficient support for an exemption either support the exemption status or complete the required lead-based paint inspections and provide the documentation to the appropriate field office.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-D

    Ensure that the remaining 24413 developments’ exemption status is properly supported.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-E

    Ensure that the 382 potentially noncompliant developments are reported in its response tracking system and reviewed for compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-F

    Closed on September 22, 2023

    Implement adequate procedures and controls for monitoring public housing agencies’ compliance with the Lead Safe Housing Rule. Such procedures and controls should include but not limited to establishing timeframes for reporting potentially noncompliant developments in its tracking system and implementing corrective actions and resolution.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-G

    Closed on September 22, 2023

    Develop a framework for taking administrative actions against public housing agencies that do not comply with HUD’s Lead Safe Rule.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-H

    Closed on August 24, 2022

    Continue its efforts to identify and train staff on how to use the response tracker.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-I

    Closed on June 06, 2023

    Continue its efforts to resolve technical issues that prevented the addition of new cases into the response tracker.

  •   2020-CH-0003-001-J

    Closed on September 13, 2023

    Establish policies, procedures, and controls for validating and correcting construction dates of the public housing developments in IMS-PIC. If the information is determined to be inaccurate, HUD should work with public housing agencies to update the data to ensure accuracy.