Log of calls to the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line

Joshua Eaton filed this request with the Department of Housing and Urban Development of the United States of America.
Tracking #

17-FI-HQ-00183

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Joshua Eaton

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

The database, spread sheet or log of all calls to the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line from Jan 1., 2015, to the date your office processes this request, inclusive.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Joshua Eaton

From: Key, Michelle

Dear Mr. Eaton:
Attached is your acknowledgement letter.

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Hello,

Your request is still being processed and a response will be sent to you once processing is complete.

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Hello,

I am working in a different office so am forwarding your email to Sandra Wright. You may contact Mrs. Wright for any questions regarding your request.

Thank you.

From: Wright, Sandra J

Good afternoon Mr. Eaton:

Attached are the sample monthly and annual reports on the activity from the multifamily complaint line, please let me know if these are the documents you are seeking, if so, we will provide you with these summaries reports for the years you requested.
Thanks,

Sandra J. Wright
Team Leader, FOIA Branch
Office of the Executive Secretariat
(202) 402-5510

From: Joshua Eaton

Dear Ms. Wright,

Thank you for this response. I'm looking for the actual log or database of calls to the line, rather than reports produced based on that log. Does that help clarify what I'm requesting?

Best,
Joshua

From: Joshua Eaton

Dear Ms. Wright,

Thank you for this response. I'm looking for the actual log or database of calls to the line, rather than reports produced based on that log. Does that help clarify what I'm requesting?

Best,
Joshua

From: Rosenberg, Howard

Dear Mr. Eaton,

Good afternoon. I'm the FOIA expert now assigned to your request. I wanted to check in mainly to say that the apparent answer is that HUD nor its contracted referral service that was the focus of the request maintains or has this kind of information; the HUD program office that works most closely with this subject matter has now weighed in on the subject. HUD can still send a final reply letter to that effect, but if for some reason this informal reply suffices or you have a follow-up question (that may or may not be best answered informally or via a final reply letter), I would be glad to proceed on one of those tracks too.
Thanks,

Howard Rosenberg
FOIA Specialist

From: Joshua Eaton

Dear Mr. Rosenberg,

When I called the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line today, the operator I spoke with was clearly working through a script of questions and told me she records the answers into a computer system. Does that computer system not produce a database, log, or spread sheet?

HUD also provided a log of landlord complaints from the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line to another reporter in 2016, in response to a FOIA request:

https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/hud-bad-landlord-complaints-5938/#comms

If HUD maintains a log of complaints made to the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line, then it stands to reason HUD also maintains a log of all calls (even if the log is very large).

Best,
Joshua

From: Rosenberg, Howard

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks for sending the link in your email below, which helped me trace back to why I was reassigned this case - because there are indeed responsive records. I do have in front of me a log for 2015 through May 31, 2017, and it is unwieldy (6,500 hundred pages but potentially choppable based on removing some possibly repetitious or insignificant data fields). if you do want the log, one way to make it easier on the eyes on your end and mine, because the typeface size is currently Arial 9 (presumably created at that size so that data can potentially appear on two landscape pages, which it currently is doing), would be if some of the fields are not important to you, because they repeat throughout or are non-informative. For one thing, all the fields would likely fit onto a single landscape page. Here are the maximum number of fields:

Ticket Number

Assigned To (CSR)

Call Type

Case Category

Case Type

City

State

ZIP

Date Created

Details

Status

Date Closed

Spanish Speaker

Resolution (Method)

It appears that the Call Type is always phone, the Case Category is always complaint, the Case Type is always Type A (HUD MFH Case), the ZIP is always empty, and every Status is closed, even the most recent cases.

If Resolution (Method) were unimportant, the vast majority are phone, and few seem to be email or Website.
If Spanish Speaker were unimportant, there seem to be few Spanish speakers.

I can of course check with the Program Office to confirm my findings, but if you want me to summarily remove some of the above headings, that would be fine too.
Thanks,

Howard Rosenberg
FOIA Specialist

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Dylan,

Your request for "all the Housing and Urban Development emails that mention Ben Carson from January 2015 to the present" may need modifying. Every e-flyer publicizing an event at HUD has Ben Carson mentioned.

I have attached HUD News Briefing newsletters and Daily Clips that mention Ben Carson and represent 95% of the emails based on your current request. Those are just miscellaneous, general newsletters and clips that wouldn't be of any consequence to what you would like to acquire.

Would you like to modify your request to a specific topic matter? Or, emails to/from agency officials that mention Ben Carson aside from HUD Happenings newsletters and Daily Clips?

From: McGirt, Eugene A

Dylan,

Your request for "all the Housing and Urban Development emails that mention Ben Carson from January 2015 to the present" may need modifying. Every e-flyer publicizing an event at HUD has Ben Carson mentioned.

I have attached HUD News Briefing newsletters and Daily Clips that mention Ben Carson and represent 95% of the emails based on your current request. Those are just miscellaneous, general newsletters and clips that wouldn't be of any consequence to what you would like to acquire.

Would you like to modify your request to a specific topic matter? Or, emails to/from agency officials that mention Ben Carson aside from HUD Happenings newsletters and Daily Clips?

From: Rosenberg, Howard

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. I'm checking in anew to see if you can weigh in on the requested log -- if it's still a request that you need filled.

I have in front of me a log for 2015 through May 31, 2017, and it is unwieldy (6,500 pages but potentially choppable based on removing some possibly repetitious or insignificant data fields). if you do want the log, one way to make it easier on the eyes on your end and mine, because the typeface size is currently Arial 9 (presumably created at that size so that data can potentially appear on two landscape pages, which it currently is doing), would be if some of the fields are not important to you, because they repeat throughout or are non-informative. For one thing, all the fields would likely fit onto a single landscape page. Here are the maximum number of fields:

Ticket Number

Assigned To (CSR)

Call Type

Case Category

Case Type

City

State

ZIP

Date Created

Details

Status

Date Closed

Spanish Speaker

Resolution (Method)

It appears that the Call Type is always phone, the Case Category is always complaint, the Case Type is always Type A (HUD MFH Case), the ZIP is always empty, and every Status is closed, even the most recent cases.

If Resolution (Method) were unimportant, the vast majority are phone, and few seem to be email or Website.
If Spanish Speaker were unimportant, there seem to be few Spanish speakers.

I can of course check with the Program Office to confirm my findings, but if you want me to summarily remove some of the above headings, that would be fine too.
Thanks,

Howard Rosenberg
FOIA Specialist

From: Rosenberg, Howard

(I'm checking in anew regarding this request, in light of my email below from August. In case it's outdated and it can be closed, I can do that either by hearing from you -- or if I don't hear back from you, I can do on Friday, October 27. In case you might need a derivative of this request that might be less unwieldy, I would be more than glad to do a search short of 6,500 pages! Thanks, Howard)

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Dear Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks for calling and letting me know that you would like HUD to reopen your request. I am glad to do so. As per our discussion, I will review what I still have handy, as far as the 6,500 of search results. But in the interim, can you indeed confirm that you would be willing to have HUD chop out the following fields?

Call Type
Case Category
ZIP
Status
Resolution (Method) were unimportant, the vast majority are phone, and few seem to be email or Website.
If Spanish Speaker were unimportant, there seem to be few Spanish speakers.
Another question, based on our conversation, is:

In light of the small typeface that may still appear, and in light of your interest in receiving at least a sample of the available information sooner than later, can you narrow your request? I will be able to get back to you to give you an idea of how relatively tame the search result layout and number of pages will be, to see if you would be fine with receiving search results that cover X number of phone inquiries?
Thanks,

Howard Rosenberg
FOIA Specialist
HUD Headquarters

From: Joshua Eaton

Hi Howard,

Great talking earlier, and thanks for being so patient! I'm happy to cut the following fields:

Call Type
Case Category
ZIP
Status

I'd like to keep Resolution (Method) and Spanish Speaker, if you don't mind.

I'm also happy to get a sample of the data earlier rather than later! As I said on the phone, I'm most interested in 2017 — and I'd be happy to narrow that down to a month or two within 2017, as an interim measure. Does that work?

Thanks, again!

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks again. I will be glad to obtain, from the relevant HUD office, a revised MS Excel spreadsheet for 2017. I likely will request one for all of 2017, but the purposes of providing you a sooner-than-later reply (that could allow you to reframe any follow-on request), would you like to amend your request to ask for two sample months of 2017? (And perhaps you might want to request months that are far apart?)
Thanks,

Howard Rosenberg
FOIA Specialist

From: Joshua Eaton

Yes, perfect — how about January and October?

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. I can indeed put in the request for those two months.
Thanks,
Howard

From: Joshua Eaton

Many thanks!

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good high noon. I can provide an update! I can report that, based on your inquiry, I’ve checked with the relevant HUD program office, and it will be giving a renewed push to your request. This one appears to have slowed down because of a handoff that still needed to take place among staffers, and I can assure you that that now has occurred.

Plus, based on a flurry of emails that have taken place today as a result of your inquiry, that should help give this one a push, so that the search results reach me.
Thanks,
Howard

From: Joshua Eaton

Many thanks! I really appreciate it.

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good morning. I can provide an update. The Office of Housing staffer who compiled data in this respect in the recent past has moved on, and the FOIA Branch has been actively engaging with the Office of Housing (especially two days ago) on identifying if the successor to that staffer can retrace the former staffer’s steps and compile the data that you seeking. The FOIA Branch sometimes has to lean on HUD program offices to conduct searches, and this is a relatively unusual situation. But be rest assured that the FOIA Branch is “locked” onto the Office of Housing.
Thanks,
Howard

From: Joshua Eaton

Thanks so much for your persistence on this!

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks again for your forbearance. I’m checking anew with my program office contact point – he’ll back in the office on Monday.
Thanks,
Howard

From: Joshua Eaton

Many thanks!

Best,
Joshua

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. I have a question about your request. If you call me at (202) 402-5507, that would be swell; I’m here now and of course next week. It has to do with the search result columns (they are still slightly unwieldy).
Thanks,
Howard

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks for writing. I’ve attached a generic letter to account for HUD’s having been closed during the most recent partial Federal Government shutdown. Otherwise, I am aware of where your package was in the clearance process, when the shutdown occurred, and can give it the requisite push when there will be a chance to. I appreciate your continued understanding.
Thanks,
Howard

From: Department of Housing and Urban Development

From: requests@muckrock.com <requests@muckrock.com>
Sent: Monday, April 01, 2019 5:04 AM
To: Rosenberg, Howard <Howard.W.Rosenberg@hud.gov>
Cc: Snowden, Deborah R <Deborah.R.Snowden@hud.gov>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Act Request #17-FI-HQ-00183

April 1, 2019

This is a follow up to request number 17-FI-HQ-00183:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information Act request, copied below, and originally submitted on Nov. 5, 2016. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response. You had assigned it reference number #17-FI-HQ-00183.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

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Is this email coming to the wrong contact? Something else wrong? Use the above link to let us know.

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 29875
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share, and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.

---

On Jan. 30, 2019:
Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks for writing. I’ve attached a generic letter to account for HUD’s having been closed during the most recent partial Federal Government shutdown. Otherwise, I am aware of where your package was in the clearance process, when the shutdown occurred, and can give it the requisite push when there will be a chance to. I appreciate your continued understanding.
Thanks,
Howard
---

On Aug. 17, 2018:
Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. I have a question about your request. If you call me at (202) 402-5507, that would be swell; I’m here now and of course next week. It has to do with the search result columns (they are still slightly unwieldy).
Thanks,
Howard
---

On Aug. 13, 2018:
Many thanks!

Best,
Joshua

---

On Aug. 10, 2018:
Hi Joshua,

Good afternoon. Thanks again for your forbearance. I’m checking anew with my program office contact point – he’ll back in the office on Monday.
Thanks,
Howard
---

On July 11, 2018:
Thanks so much for your persistence on this!

Best,
Joshua

---

On Nov. 5, 2016:
To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

The database, spread sheet or log of all calls to the Multifamily Housing Complaint Line from Jan 1., 2015, to the date your office processes this request, inclusive.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Joshua Eaton

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Is this email coming to the wrong contact? Something else wrong? Use the above link to let us know.

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 29875
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share, and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.
[http://email.requests.muckrock.com/o/eJwNzL0OgjAQAOCnseOlf1zboYMJGmcXRwN3BxLExiL6-rJ848e5aVBN2WqTtNdG79oGDNjW-XB2x9aHE0brDl5XeW-yflZYNpproRmoLOqRrSGRgIHJJA489CnaAY0jFGRKRsnSTc_7xDmijxpVzZfy6yrDDa5llVcvddz_x8Ywlu8fudgrog]

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