Disaster Assistance: Federal Assistance for Permanent Housing Primarily Benefited Homeowners; Opportunities Exist to Better Target Rental Housing Needs, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 1MB]

"In response to the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, Congress provided about $130 billion in disaster recovery assistance, including assistance for permanent housing. Congress has expressed an interest in how this assistance has been allocated to homeowners and rental property owners, particularly for state-administered programs. GAO's objectives were to review (1) how federal disaster-related assistance for permanent housing has been provided to homeowners and rental property owners, (2) the extent to which federally funded programs have responded to the needs of homeowners and rental property owners, and (3) the challenges that homeowners and rental property owners have faced in applying for and using federal assistance, and potential options for addressing these challenges. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed documentation for key programs and program data, and interviewed federal, state, and local officials regarding the challenges associated with these programs. In planning for recoveries from future disasters, Congress should consider the merits of providing more specific direction to states regarding the allocation of disaster- related CDBG assistance for homeowners and rental property owners. We received technical comments from federal and state agencies, which we incorporated as appropriate."

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