FEMA is currently responding to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, one of the largest disasters in U.S. history, with current damage estimates reported to exceed $100 billion. Due to the massive scale of damage, FEMA and Texas, as a FEMA grantee, will face many challenges in the recovery phase of the disaster. As FEMA moves into the recovery phase for Hurricane Harvey, it will begin to obligate hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars from the Disaster Relief Fund for administrative costs and for Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grants to eligible state, tribal, and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations. Texas, as FEMA’s grantee, will be responsible for oversight and monitoring of the disaster grants to Texas subrecipients.
- Executive SummaryReport NumberOIG-18-21Issue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2018
- Executive Summary
We are providing this report to emphasize the potential housing challenges and risks that FEMA needs to address during Hurricane Harvey’s recovery efforts based on our observations and discussions with FEMA officials at the Austin, Texas Joint Field Office. FEMA is currently responding to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, some of the most catastrophic disasters in recent United States history. Damages from Hurricane Harvey are estimated to exceed $100 billion. On September 22, 2017, the State of Texas General Land Office entered into an Intergovernmental Service Agreement to provide assistance to FEMA in the delivery of Direct Housing Assistance (DHA) to Hurricane Harvey survivors on a temporary basis. FEMA estimates these costs will reach approximately $1 billion. The agreement does not clearly identify basic controls to ensure DHA funds are spent according to Federal regulations. For instance, the agreement does not include approval authorities and physical inspections, or separation of duties and independent certifications. We are concerned that without adequate controls in place the Federal funds may be at risk of fraud, waste, and abuse. Therefore, it is imperative that FEMA ensure Texas’ proposed project management plan clearly identifies the internal controls needed to ensure that Federal funds will be properly spent. Our report also provides observations on the current and past issues with FEMA’s use of direct housing assistance programs.Report NumberOIG-17-121-MAIssue DateDocument FileDHS AgencyOversight AreaFiscal Year2017