Davis, Hill raise alarm about HUD not spending pandemic rental assistance

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and French Hill (R-AR) recently requested information on how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has used the federal funds it was appropriated to provide rental assistance during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent reports “demonstrate an alarming problem” related to the length of time it has taken for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to reach their intended recipients, wrote Reps. Hill and Davis in a June 14 letter sent to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.

The lawmakers pointed out that there are also other issues regarding entities being unable to distribute funds in a timely manner due to a lack of clear guidance from HUD, according to their letter.

“Given the slow state of economic recovery due to forced shutdowns over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a variety of factors that continue to contribute to high rates of unemployment, it is unacceptable that out of $46.5 billion in additional funds, the Department has failed to issue clear and concise guidelines to the local governments and non-profit entities responsible for distributing these funds,” Reps. Davis and Hill wrote.

The congressmen requested information from Secretary Fudge, including what guidance HUD has released to nonprofit and local entities directing how their funds should be allocated and released; and what the department is doing to ensure that CDBG and ESG funds are reaching the individuals for which the programs were designed, according to their letter.

Reps. Hill and Davis also asked the secretary to explain recent financial summaries of the HUD dollars appropriated via the CARES Act.

“Approximately 10 percent of funds from the Community Planning and Development Office have been spent by people it was designed for,” they wrote. “What is the department doing to ensure that the remaining 90 percent of funds are properly allocated, and when does the department anticipate 100 percent of funds being spent?”