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The State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, LA, Did Not Always Maintain Adequate Documentation or Comply With Website Reporting Requirements

We audited the State of Louisiana’s Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance program as part of our annual audit plan to review Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery programs.  Our objective was to determine whether the State ensured that it complied with (1) its eligibility requirements for the Homeowner Assistance program and (2) website reporting requirements.

We found that The State did not always ensure that it complied with (1) its eligibility requirements for its Homeowner Assistance program or (2) website reporting requirements.  Specifically, it did not always maintain adequate documentation to support that (1) applicants owned and occupied properties and (2) it considered or completed the elevation of properties when required.  In addition, although it did not affect applicant eligibility, the State did not always maintain adequate and accurate file documentation to support applicant status determinations.  For its website reporting, the State did not always ensure that it posted its quarterly performance reports as required.  This condition occurred because the State did not always follow HUD’s requirements and its own program policies and procedures and did not have adequate policies and procedures.  As a result, the State could not provide reasonable assurance to HUD that it administered its program effectively and efficiently, could not support $515,149 disbursed to applicants, and lacked transparency to the public.

We recommend that HUD require the State to (1) support that it complied with the ownership and occupancy requirements or repay $396,905, (2) support that it complied with the elevation requirements or repay $118,244, (3) implement additional controls and procedures to ensure that adequate and accurate supporting documentation is maintained in its applicant files and all website information is maintained and updated as required.