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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Inspector General audited the Benkelman Housing Authority based on a request from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD OIG), Office of Investigation.  Additionally, HUD conducted an onsite assessment in May 2016 and identified concerns, including procurement, income verification, travel policy, and significant control deficiencies.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority followed HUD’s rules and regulations for public housing programs related to procurement and maintenance, tenant certifications, laundry machine income, and expenditures.

The Authority did not always comply with procurement and maintenance policies, improperly completed initial tenant certifications and annual recertifications, improperly certified tenants with potential conflict-of-interest relationships, and mismanaged its laundry machine revenue.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Omaha, NE, Office of Public Housing require the Authority to provide adequate documentation to support that the $71,034 spent for improperly procured goods and services was spent at the most competitive prices and provide adequate documentation to support more than $15,000 spent for maintenance activities.  Additionally, we recommend that HUD (1) work with the Authority to develop a formalized process, such as a checklist, when conducting initial certifications and annual recertifications, which would help to ensure that it follows HUD requirements for its public housing program; (2) require the Authority to conduct a 100 percent review of its tenant files to ensure that tenants’ rents are accurate and the proper income, asset, and medical expenses are complete and documented in the tenant files; and (3) require the Authority to address actual or potential conflict-of-interest relationships in its Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy.  We also recommend that HUD require the Authority to develop and implement detailed policies and procedures to address collections, tracking, and use of its laundry machine revenue.