Cummings Requests Committee Action on Allegations of Waste in Housing Program for Poor

May 17, 2011
Press Release

Washington, DC – Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings sent a letter to Chairman Issa today requesting that the Committee examine allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds may have been squandered in the nation’s largest low-income housing construction program, according to the first of a series of articles by the Washington Post. The article reports that nearly 700 projects nationwide – some of which date back to 2001 – have been stalled as developers abandoned their efforts, but retained federal funds.

“At a time when so many Americans are struggling to stay in their homes, it would be deeply upsetting if these allegations proved true,” said Ranking Member Cummings. “Our Committee should help ensure that contractors actually do the work they receive taxpayer funds for, and that local and federal agencies properly oversee funds they distribute. We should also correct any deficiencies in the law that prevent agencies from adequately monitoring projects and recouping taxpayer funds if necessary.”

Below is the letter that Mr. Cummings sent to the Chairman:

May 17, 2011
The Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Mr. Chairman:

On May 14, 2011, the Washington Post published the first in a series of articles
on its investigation of the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which distributes
“block grants to 642 cities, counties, and states” to develop affordable housing for lowincome
households. The investigation reportedly found that there have been $400
million in grants distributed to developers for nearly 700 projects that have stalled or
been otherwise abandoned, insufficient federal and local agency oversight, and legal
impediments that prevent recouping money from failed projects. Enclosed is a copy of
the article for your review.

Some of these allegations relate to projects dating back as far as 2001. If these
allegations are accurate, they are very troubling. I am writing to request that the
Committee examine these allegations in more detail, beginning with a briefing from the
Department of the Housing and Urban Development. This issue is within the jurisdiction
of the Committee and presents an opportunity for bipartisan and constructive oversight
into the HOME program, the actions of developers who received U.S. taxpayer funds,
and potential flaws in the block grant process that allegedly led to fraud, waste, and

I hope we can work together to find solutions to ensure a more effective and
efficient HOME program.

Elijah E. Cummings
Ranking Member

112th Congress