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Recommendations for Executive Action

to develop strategies to transition disaster victims into more permanent housing.

We recommend that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the Director of FEMA to take the following six actions. With regard to the 10 MD and 5 GSM contracts in Mississippi that we investigated for this report, FEMA should assess whether the contractors were overpaid and, if so, establish procedures to collect overpayments or offset future payments.

For the current MD and GSM contracts in Mississippi and for any temporary housing unit contracts arising from future disasters, FEMA should

place a greater emphasis on issuing task orders to the companies with the capability to perform the most work at the lowest cost.

conduct a complete inventory of mobile homes and trailers, create a comprehensive database, and establish procedures to link work assigned to the contractors with specific unit barcodes to provide reasonable assurance that work is being performed on FEMA-owned housing units.

design and implement internal control procedures to enforce the existing payment and invoice review process to provide reasonable assurance that payments are being made for work actually performed.

To alleviate the excessive costs associated with maintaining travel trailers at group and commercial sites, FEMA should reevaluate the allocation of trailers and work at the sites to determine whether any savings can be achieved and explore creating permanent partnerships with other agencies, such as the current partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to determine whether there are less expensive housing options that meet the needs of disaster victims.

As previously indicated, we have referred all the alleged criminal matters identified in our report to the Department of Justice and the DHS IG for further investigation and we have notified the Katrina Fraud Task Force about our findings. For these cases, FEMA should consider the suspension or debarment of any contractor found to have committed fraud or otherwise violated the law.

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GAO-08-106 Hurricane Katrina

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