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We selected the State of California’s 2018 disaster owner-occupied rehabilitation and reconstruction program to audit after an internal risk assessment of disaster grantees showed the grant was newer and had not yet disbursed the majority of its funding.  The State received more than $1 billion for the 2018 disasters.  Our audit objective was to determine what the State is considering and to what extent resilience-based mitigation efforts help homeowners to withstand potential future disasters, along with how the State is prioritizing its efforts in the program to assist qualified low-to-moderate-income beneficiaries.  The State’s owner-occupied rehabilitation and reconstruction program generally planned for resilience-based mitigation efforts and prioritized its efforts to assist qualified low-to-moderate-income beneficiaries.  The State faced some challenges, such as verifying structure type and size and assessing ownership and primary residency, in implementing this program due to it being one of the first housing rehabilitation and reconstruction programs addressing a wildfire disaster.  The State’s efforts to adjust its program and requirements as it encountered challenges indicate its willingness to address exceptions when known.  We recommended that the State should ensure that it has proper documentation for compliance with building standards and ownership and primary residence determinations.

Recommendations

Community Planning and Development

  •   2023-FW-1004-001-A

    Closed on July 13, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery require the State to implement policies and procedures that require maintaining documentation to ensure it can support compliance for the installation of 36-inch roof valley flashing.

  •   2023-FW-1004-001-B

    Closed on November 16, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery require the State to determine if the proper roof valley flashing was installed on the completed and in progress homes, and if not, require the State to install the correct roof valley flashing using non-Federal funds.

  •   2023-FW-1004-001-C

    Closed on July 13, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery require the State to enhance the system used to estimate costs, to include the Wildland-Urban Interface Code required roof valley flashing, or document in the system and its output the different materials and costs used.

  •   2023-FW-1004-001-D

    Closed on July 13, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery require the State to develop and implement a policy to identify ownership and primary residency earlier in the review process and potential red flags in documentation.

  •   2023-FW-1004-001-E

    Closed on March 22, 2024

    We recommend that the Director of the Office of Disaster Recovery require the State to document and support its decision regarding duplication of benefits and income verification for additional owners of the property under an application.