HUD Inspector General Testifies at House Appropriations Hearing, Critical of MTW
On March 15, HUD Inspector General David Montoya and DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies at a hearing on the budget requests for Offices of Inspector General (OIG) for HUD and the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Montoya praised HUD Secretary Julián Castro for his responsiveness and willingness to partner with the OIG, but said that HUD’s audit problems stem from lack of staff expertise in financial management and accounting. He stated that HUD was too slow to implement recommendations and respond to concerns made by his office, and that HUD’s slowness in filling key staff positions contributed to the problem and poses particular cause for concern as 43 percent of HUD’s staff are eligible for retirement.
In response to a question from Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) regarding how the subcommittee should measure performance outcomes of federal programs to ensure they’re producing results, Montoya criticized the Moving to Work (MTW) program as a prime example of a program that has failed to be evaluated for its impact. He said:
For the last 20 years, there have been 39 public housing authorities in the Moving to Work program, which allows for locally innovative new ways of performing housing and self-sufficiency and these sorts of things. The problem is that in 20 years, they have never had a performance measure and I don’t think that we’ve ever had one as an example of what exactly came from this program that basically has a lot less rules and a lot more flexibility to it. And yet Congress has just expanded it. We have serious concerns that that’s ever going to be successful. Quite frankly, out of the 39 Moving to Work housing authorities that have been in the program, we’ve investigated five of them under at least 23 different investigations for abuse, fraud, [and] mismanagement of the program because of the lack of oversight that the department has provided.