HUD was unable to obtain the list of HOME projects used by The Washington Post that alleged that that nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years. Therefore, HUD used the same criteria employed by the Post and found 792 projects. As of August 9, 2011, 52% (412) of those projects are complete and 2% are cancelled with all HOME money repaid. This leaves 46% (363) open projects.
HUD argues that since more than half of the 792 projects were complete as of August 9, it is “impossible” that they were stalled on May 15 as claimed by the Post. Regarding the 46% open projects, HUD notes that given the complexity of the development process and the several layers of financing generally needed to produce affordable housing, the 18-month time period used by the Post can often be unrealistic. HOME funding on average consists of 20% of a project’s financing, and HOME dollars might not be expended until a project is complete. Even upon completion, a HOME project might still register as “open,” even thought the housing is occupied, because a local participating jurisdiction’s staff might not have entered the final information into HUD’s data system.
All of the projects in HUD’s current analysis are available for public inspection through a link in the blog entry, http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/home_projects
The August 18 HUDdle entry, “HUD’s Analysis of the Washington Post’s Mislabeled HOME Projects” is available at http://blog.hud.gov/2011/08/18/hud%E2%80%99s-analysis-washington-post%E2%80%99s-mislabeled-home-projects/