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Mention the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the word “scandal” comes to mind. Within recent history, the association is quite accurate; congressional panels have investigated “abuses, favoritism, and mismanagement” at HUD; at HUD’s predecessor, the Federal Housing Administration, the FBI targeted the association for involvement in fraudulent home-improvement schemes; and HUD was scrutinized for lax lending standards, blatant over appraisals, and shoddy housing. In this groundbreaking volume, Irving Welfeld, a senior analyst with HUD, describes and explains these episodes as well as a series of hidden blunders that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
In this thorough, firsthand account, Welfeld provides not only documented history, but analyses of events that arrive at different interpretations than Congress reached in its investigations. Throughout, his readings ask hard and probing questions: Where were the overseers—the media, Congress, the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget? To what extent is poor management the root cause of HUD’s failures? Will tighter regulation help in keeping out corruption?
After his comprehensive survey of the scene, Welfeld offers solutions: a set of programs that would minimize secrecy on the part of federal administrators and the temptation to abuse the public trust. Most importantly, the programs outlined here will enable HUD to more effectively fulfill its mission to see that there is decent affordable housing for all Americans. This book will be of interest to scholars of public administration, political scientists, and analysts of housing issues.