On November 29, CLPHA attended a meeting at HUD headquarters with other industry groups to discuss changes to the inspection process. Recent news coverage has highlighted instances in which inspection scores do not accurately reflect living conditions and overall declines in the number of inspections for properties.
At the meeting, an official from HUD’s office of public affairs noted that the department has received an increased number of media and FOIA requests related to inspections in the last few years. HUD officials also acknowledged that the current inspection standards are 20 years old and an update and review of those standards is needed in order to maintain safe environments for residents and to ensure that scores accurately reflect housing conditions.
In addition to flaws in the scoring system, the group discussed other factors that may be contributing to inaccurate scores, such as lack of capacity at HUD field offices to monitor inspections and inadequate inspector training. Senior HUD PIH officials discussed some potential changes to the scoring system and protocol, as well as measures to increase enforcement including shorter inspection notification periods and requiring inspections of properties currently undergoing rehabilitation.
CLPHA remains concerned about the current inspection protocol’s ability to distinguish between safe and unsafe properties, and HUD’s lack of oversight for owners whose properties receive failing scores. HUD should also acknowledge that reduced capital and operating funds for public housing have greatly affected the ability of PHAs to maintain safe living conditions for their residents and that a comprehensive approach is needed through inspection protocol changes, stricter enforcement, and adequate funding for maintenance and repairs.
HUD officials reported that they will continue to explore possible changes and are considering holding listening sessions with PHAs and property owners in the spring, with a potential demonstration project for a new inspection protocol beginning in summer 2019.
In other news, HUD officials also reported at the meeting that a notice on the Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) is expected shortly. CLPHA strongly advocated for reconsideration of HUD’s earlier changes to the ACC.