Laura Sullivan

An $8 billion federal program to build housing for the poor is so lacking oversight that virtually no one in government knows how it is working, a government auditor testified before Congress today.

"IRS and no one else in the federal government really has an idea of what's going on," said Daniel Garcia-Diaz, an auditor with the Government Accountability Office while testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. "These are basic accountability requirements we would expect of any program, especially one as important as this one."

On the south side of Dallas, Nena Eldridge lives in a sparse but spotless bungalow on a dusty lot. At $550 each month, her rent is just about the cheapest she could find in the city.

After an injury left her unable to work, the only income she receives is a $780 monthly disability check. So she has to make tough financial choices, like living without running water.

A new report by the New York attorney general's office finds that a lack of accountability in the nation's flood insurance program is costing taxpayers millions. The office also announced 50 felony charges against an engineering firm for allegedly writing fraudulent reports in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The American Red Cross spent a quarter of the money people donated after the 2010 Haiti earthquake — or almost $125 million — on its own internal expenses, far more than the charity previously had disclosed, according to a report released Thursday by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The report also says the charity's top officials stonewalled congressional investigators and released incomplete information about its Haiti program to the public. It concludes "there are substantial and fundamental concerns about [the Red Cross] as an organization."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making sweeping reforms to the nation's flood insurance program in the wake of a series of critical reports on NPR and the PBS series Frontline. But lawmakers say this isn't enough when private insurance companies are profiting millions of dollars from a program that is already $23 billion in debt.

This story is Part 2 of a two-part series. See our first piece about insurance firms that profited $400 million after Superstorm Sandy here.

The night of Superstorm Sandy, Nick and Diane Camerada decided not to evacuate. Instead, they stayed with their four boys in their Staten Island, N.Y., home. In 20 years, their house had never flooded.

They thought: How bad could it be?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This story is Part 1 of a two-part series. See our second piece about local recovery programs that are struggling to help homeowners here.

On a cold rainy day last fall, dozens of people gathered in a plaza across the street from New Jersey's state Capitol. They held press conferences and slept overnight in lawn chairs.

Sen. Chuck Grassley is asking federal investigators to give him the names of officials at the American Red Cross who did not cooperate with the government's recent inquiry into the charity.

The American Red Cross is facing new criticism today as government investigators and a congressman call for independent oversight over the long-venerated charity.

Federal legislation is being unveiled that would force the Red Cross to open its books and operations to outside scrutiny — something it has repeatedly resisted.

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