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HUD Emails Raise Questions About Bureaucrats Skewing Bidding Process


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Emails discussed 'limiting the competition' after department received an unfavorable action from the Supreme Court

Todd Shepherd
January 29, 2018

A contractor that managed a sizable portion of Housing and Urban Development's Section 8 program claims that numerous HUD officials illegally threw away a competitive bidding process for contracting that work, claiming internal emails show repeated instances of high-ranking HUD officials skirting court rulings while operating with a bias against their company and others like them in the years that followed.

Navigate Affordable Housing Partners is a nonprofit based in Alabama that originally won a contract to administer somewhere between five to ten percent of HUD's Section 8 housing program in 2000. For low-income citizens who qualify, Section 8 housing provides housing assistance by subsidizing a portion of the fair-market rent to the landlord of the property.

HUD began contracting the management of Section 8 work at that time as a response to numerous scandals from the previous decades and in an effort to modernize HUD’s mission and operations.

HUD relied on a competitive bid process for the contracting and by most standards, the efforts led to success: Better administration of the program for fewer dollars.

Navigate and its colleagues point to a report by the HUD inspector general that noted HUD, "has made substantial progress in reducing erroneous payments, from and estimated $3.2 billion in fiscal year 2000 to $1.32 billion in fiscal year 2011." That study was agency-wide, meaning those totals include the Section 8 program as well as others.

However, the Obama administration altered the process in 2012, relabeling the contracts as "cooperative agreements" so the funds could be distributed in a system that resembeld a state-based grant structure rather than a competitive bidding process.

 

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