Early in 2001 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took an important step to improve the effectiveness of its rental housing assistance programs. Through the Rental Housing Integrity Improvements Program (RHIP), HUD worked to identify the best methods of reducing costly errors in the local administration of both the public housing and Section 8 programs. The Quality Control for Rental Assistance Subsidies Determinations study provided the impetus for much of this effort. The study found that substantial errors were being made in the income and rent determinations that set the amount HUD pays on behalf of families receiving public housing and Section 8 program assistance. Through miscalculation of income and other errors, overpayments of more than $600 million were made, whereas rent underpayments totaled $1.7 billion - nearly three times the amount of the overpayments.
The data collection for this study was done in mid-2000. On-site tenant interviews, file review, and independent third-party income verifications were conducted by an independent contractor for a nationally representative sample of families who receive public housing and Section 8 assistance. Using these data and adhering to all HUD requirements, the Department made income, rent, and subsidy determinations based on adherence to all HUD guidelines. These determinations were then compared to those made by local public housing and Section 8 project staff. This allowed the Department to identify the most serious errors, their costs, and their apparent causes, and formed the basis for many of the corrective actions that are now being developed. Successive Quality Control studies will provide periodic performance indicators and verify the effectiveness of HUD's corrective actions.
Related link: The Quality Control Project