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GAO Recommends HUD Improve Section 202 Supportive Services

HUD LogoThe U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that estimates that about half of Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) properties employ a HUD-funded service coordinator to help link residents to supportive services, such as transportation assistance and meals. The Section 202 program provides funding to nonprofit organizations that have developed and operate housing for seniors with very low incomes. Section 202 property owners are expected to coordinate the provision of services so that residents can live independently and age in place.

The GAO’s review of Section 202 properties found that the most common reason properties did not employ service coordinators was because they had insufficient resources to pay for them. Some property managers without service coordinators said their developments were too small for coordinators and that their residents received service support by other means. While some of the stakeholder groups interviewed by the GAO explained that property managers are well-positioned to know their residents and do not necessarily require a service coordinator, other stakeholders stated that property managers do not necessarily have the time or expertise to effectively manage their tenants’ supportive service needs and that conflicts of interest may arise in their dual role as both manager and service coordinator.

The GAO concludes that HUD lacks accurate data and written policies needed to train staff for monitoring Section 202 properties to ensure residents are receiving supportive services. The GAO recommends HUD implement its guidance on improving data collection on Section 202 properties and to take steps to evaluate whether the guidance has improved the quality of information being collected. The GAO also recommends that HUD develop written procedures to better assess Section 202 properties’ compliance with the program’s supportive service requirements. HUD agreed to follow the GAO’s recommendations and will look to improve its Section 202 management and data collection in the near future.

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