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We audited the Maine State Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program pertaining to its housing quality standard inspections, and other expenditures and procurements using U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds.  Our review was initiated based on a congressional request from Senator Susan Collins.  The objectives of the audit were to determine whether (1) the Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program units selected for review met housing quality standards, and (2) the use of HUD funds for expenditures and procurements complied with HUD rules and regulations.

Our inspection of Housing Choice Voucher program units found that 53 of 61 units inspected did not meet HUD’s housing quality standards.  Authority officials did not have adequate oversight of contracted program agents and had an ineffective quality control system for their own inspectors.  There were units that should have failed inspection due to deficiencies but were instead passed, and Authority officials continued to make housing assistance payments for these inadequate units.  As a result, some tenants lived in units that did not meet HUD’s standards for decent, safe, and sanitary housing, and Authority officials made at least $194,956 in housing assistance payments for units that did not meet housing quality standards. 

In addition, although Authority officials generally charged expenses to HUD programs that were eligible, reasonable, and supported, they awarded a contract to an information technology consultant without following HUD’s or their own procurement regulations or policies for noncompetitive proposals.  From January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011, the Authority paid the consultant $848,096, of which $111,742 was charged to the Homeless Management Information Systems program.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Boston Office of Public Housing require Authority officials to (1) repay the Housing Choice Voucher program $194,956 from non-Federal funds  and (2) conduct an independent cost analysis for the $111,742 charged to the Homeless Management Information Systems program to determine whether costs were eligible, reasonable, and supported