We audited the Housing Authority of the County of Lackawanna’s Housing Choice Voucher program because we received an anonymous complaint alleging incompetent leadership and poor quality of life at the Authority. This is the second of two audit reports on the Authority. Our objectives in this audit were to determine whether the Authority ensured that its Housing Choice Voucher program units met U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing quality standards and whether it abated housing assistance payments as required.
The Authority did not conduct adequate inspections to ensure that its program units met housing quality standards as required. Of 80 program units statistically selected for inspection, 72 did not meet HUD’s housing quality standards. Further, 35 of the 72 units were in material noncompliance with housing quality standards. The Authority disbursed $17,029 in housing assistance payments and received $1,470 in administrative fees for these 35 units. We estimate that over the next year if the Authority does not implement adequate procedures to ensure that its program units meet housing quality standards, HUD will pay more than $1.1 million in housing assistance for units that materially fail to meet those standards. Also, the Authority did not abate housing assistance payments as required. It improperly paid owners at least $18,655 for units that did not meet housing quality standards and it incorrectly certified on its Section 8 Management Assessment Program score that it enforced housing quality standards as required.
We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) reimburse its program $18,499 from non-Federal funds for the 35 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards; (2) continue to implement procedures and controls to ensure that program units meet housing quality standards, thereby ensuring that $1.1 million in program funds is expended for units that are decent, safe, and sanitary; and (3) reimburse its program $18,655 from non-Federal funds for housing assistance payments that should have been abated.