HUD orders Houston to halt home-repair program

November 13, 2003
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has ordered Houston to immediately suspend one of its major housing-assistance programs for what it says are widespread problems, including poor-quality work and overpayment to contractors.
     The blunt enforcement letter, issued last week, follows a detailed audit of the city's $5 million Emergency Home Repair Program, which fixes unsafe houses owned by elderly or disabled city residents. The program is entirely funded by federal grants.
     "Due to the very serious nature of this finding, the fact that it is a repeat finding, and the city's continued failure to resolve timely and satisfactorily the complaints made by homeowners about the repair work done on their homes ... the city is to discontinue immediately its ... housing repair program," wrote Katie S. Worsham, director of HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development in Fort Worth.