The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not balance its manufactured housing unit (MHU) program costs with disaster-related housing needs, the DHS Office of Inspector General found.
In response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, FEMA overestimated the number of MHUs it needed by nearly 2,600, which amounted to purchase, transportation, and storage costs of at least $152 million. The agency also overestimated the number of tank and pump systems (TPS) it needed to operate MHU fire sprinklers by nearly 2,400, which amounted to purchase and transportation costs of about $29 million. The excess MHUs, TPS’s, and transportation costs occurred due to management and oversight deficiencies.
In most cases, FEMA focused on providing prompt assistance to survivors when carrying out its MHU housing mission in response to Hurricane Harvey. However, FEMA did not emphasize financial accountability or maintain complete records of MHU and TPS program costs to help the agency make timely financial and logistically sound decisions.
For example, FEMA did not
- have comprehensive policies and procedures or follow existing policies;
- follow its initial housing needs projections or coordinate MHU resources to execute its direct housing mission effectively; and
- maintain complete records of MHU and TPS program costs.
Had FEMA better managed and overseen the MHU program, it could have put an estimated $182 million to better use to assist survivors of Hurricane Harvey or other disasters. FEMA concurred with OIG’s four recommendations to FEMA that, when implemented, should help the agency balance manufactured housing program costs with its disaster-related housing needs.