In an article published in the Washington Post last week, which comes on the heels of a year-long investigation by the newspaper, Democrats and Republicans are calling for an official Congressional investigation into HUD’s HOME program.
The HOME program is the nation’s housing construction program for poor families. At the center of the probe are questions concerning delays and oversight missteps that have tied up funding and halted or seriously jeopardized construction and renovation projects all over the country. The Washington Post investigation finds “. . .nearly 700 construction projects awarded $400 million have been idling on HUD’s books-some for a decade or longer-leaving a blighted trail of empty lots and abandoned buildings in neighborhoods nationwide.”
HUD responded to the investigation by defending the HOME program and its accomplishments, stating that “. . .the 700 projects cited by The Post represent 2.5 percent of 28,000 active developments.” HUD also offered an explanation by noting that many of the projects are experiencing delays because “we are in the middle of a housing crisis in this country.”
Regardless of HUD’s explanation, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), both of the Senate Banking Committee, are seeking the investigation. They are joined, amongst others, by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) who sent an official request for an investigation to Darrell Issa (R-CA), the House Oversight and Governmental Reform Committee Chairman.
There is no official word as to when an investigation may be launched.