We performed a limited scope audit of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to determine whether the Office complied with the requirements of 42 U.S.C. (United States Code) Chapter 45, Subpart I, Section, 3616a(d), entitled Fair Housing Intiatives Program, Education and Outreach, when it published the 2007 Fair Housing Initiatives Program notice of funding availability. The audit disclosed that the Office generally complied with the applicable requirements; however, it issued the 2007 Fair Housing Initiatives Program notice of funding availability with an error related to applicant eligibility and it did not fully document criteria to determine eligibility of the applicant awarded the 2007 Education and Outreach Initiative national program media campaign. This condition occurred because the Office broadly defined who was eligible to apply and did not obtain legal guidance regarding applicants qualifying as nonprofit organizations representing groups protected under the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity lacked a policy regarding whether a portion of each fiscal year's Education and Outreach Initiative funds were to be used for a national program for Fair Housing Month activities.
We recommend that the Assistant Secretary, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, (1) strengthen its internal control procedures regarding the development of future super notices of funding availability to ensure that notice language complies with statutory requirements, (2) obtain guidance on the meaning of a nonprofit organization representing groups of persons protected under the Fair Housing Act, and (3) develop policy on whether funds from each fiscal year's Fair Housing Initiatives Program appropriation is intended to be used for a national program specifically for annual Fair Housing Month activities.