Ending homelessness through the provision of affordable housing and supportive services are just some of the important activities that are supported with the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program funds administered by HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD). These programs are administered and managed by committed homeless services providers from the non-profit sector as well as units of state and local government.
Unfortunately, our data show that year in and year out, a significant amount of these essential funds is found to be used improperly, not sufficiently documented, not spent by required deadlines, or otherwise jeopardized. On an annual basis, HUD’s CPD grantees end up losing or having to repay millions of dollars in program funds, rendering these scarce valuable resources unavailable to the communities that rely on them.
Efficient operations and effective accountability mechanisms are essential to ensuring that limited federal targeted homeless assistance resources are protected and prudently used for their intended purposes. Our collective ability to maintain or increase federal funding for homeless assistance activities is undermined by widespread examples of funds that have not been appropriately used or managed. We are writing to ask for your assistance ensuring that as a recipient of CoC Program funds, you take every possible measure to guarantee the proper and timely use of HUD program funds.
Too often, a HUD monitoring review or an Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) audit is the first official look at the management of these programs. Every CoC and recipient of CoC Program funds must have the capability to monitor these programs and should be the first line of defense ensuring that program funds are managed appropriately. With recent changes in federal accounting and procurement requirements, the risk of loss or repayment of these funds has never been greater and the attention of elected and appointed officials to the management of these programs has never been more necessary.
To assist in this effort, the OIG and CPD Office are launching a series of Integrity Bulletins on the following topics, which represent issues HUD formula grantees struggle with most often:
- Procurement and Contracting
- Subrecipient Oversight
- Conflicts of Interest
- Internal Controls
- Documentation and Reporting
- Financial Management
These bulletins will be released over the course of the year and will provide information to help safeguard CoC Program funds and ensure that your community gets the full benefit of the funding you have been awarded. Read the first bulletin in the series regarding Procurement and Contracting. We encourage you to read the bulletins and distribute them widely.
We also encourage you to learn more about all of the CPD programs on HUD’s technical assistance website, the HUD Exchange. There you will find resources like the Explore CDBG suite, the Building HOME training series, and the Introduction to the ESG Program webinar, among many other resources specific to the CoC Program.
Finally, CoCs and recipients of funding, we ask that you work with HUD to identify mechanisms for ensuring that all CoC Program funding going to your CoC is managed in the most effective manner. We urge you to consider ways to share best practices, policies, and procedures with other recipients of funding within your CoC as well as other CoCs across the country. One possible approach may be increased participation in organizations, conferences, and other events where CPD’s local government grantees represent a significant proportion of attendees. Other opportunities may exist in securing technical assistance that can serve all CPD grantees. HUD wishes to encourage a greater sharing of program implementation information across the spectrum of CoC Program recipients to help insure that these funds benefit the populations to which they are targeted. State grantees should also ensure that they are staffed at the appropriate levels to manage much larger formula programs than those at the local level.
We all know how precious CoC Program resources are, and the CPD and OIG partnership is designed to assure that each taxpayer dollar is used to benefit the communities we are all entrusted to serve. If you have any questions about administration of your CoC Program funds or concerns about fraud, waste, or abuse, please do not hesitate to reach out to your local CPD or OIG office. Local contact information is available at www.hud.gov.