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We audited the City of Hattiesburg’s HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program based on a referral from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Community Planning and Development’s field office in Jackson, MS, to address a request by the City’s mayor for a comprehensive review of the City’s HOME program.  In addition, we selected the City for review in accordance with our annual audit plan.  The objective of our review was to determine whether the City administered its HOME program in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements.

The City did not always administer its HOME program in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements.  Specifically, the City did not always (1) adequately support commitments or commit funds within the required timeframe, (2) ensure that its written agreements met HUD’s requirements, (3) enter commitments into HUD’s Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) in a timely manner, (4) disburse funds appropriately, and (5) ensure that activities met its own affordability period requirements.  This condition occurred because the City’s staff was not fully aware of HUD’s and its own requirements and the City lacked adequate procedures to ensure compliance with HUD’s requirements for timeliness of commitments.  As a result, the City (1) inappropriately used more than $441,000 in program funds without adequate documentation to support commitments and disbursements, (2) failed to commit more than $32,000 in program funds within the statutory commitment deadline, and (3) inappropriately disbursed more than $33,000 before executing written agreements.  In addition, HUD and the City lacked assurance that the HOME program was administered in accordance with HUD’s and the City’s requirements.  Lastly, the City compromised the integrity and the degree of reliability that HUD could place on the data in IDIS.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Jackson, MS, Office of Community Planning and Development require the City to (1) support more than $474,000 or reimburse its program from non-Federal funds and (2) develop and implement procedures to ensure that the HOME program is administered in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements.  Further, we recommend that the Director recapture more than $32,000 in program funds not committed by the City.

Recommendation Status Date Issued Summary
2018-AT-1011-001-A Closed September 28, 2018 Require the City to support $441,202 ($370,729 $20,000 $50,473) or reimburse its program from non-Federal funds for commitments and expenditures not adequately supported.
2018-AT-1011-001-B Closed September 28, 2018 Require the City to reimburse its program $33,258 from non-Federal funds for inappropriate costs incurred before the written agreements were executed.
2018-AT-1011-001-C Closed September 28, 2018 Recapture and thereby put $32,019 to better use, which the City did not commit by its 24-month statutory commitment deadline in fiscal year 2015 funding for activity 1464.
2018-AT-1011-001-D Closed September 28, 2018 Require the City to develop and implement HOME procedures, including training for the City’s employees, to ensure that (1) commitments are accurately entered into IDIS to maintain data integrity and (2) the HOME program is administered in accordance with HUD’s and its own requirements.
2018-AT-1011-001-E Closed September 28, 2018 Verify that the remaining 14 (Footnote 5 - As detailed in the Scope and Methodology section of this report, we reviewed 23 of the 37 commitments entered into IDIS by the City.) commitments made during the period January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2017, were properly supported with written agreements and accurately entered into IDIS.
2018-AT-1011-001-F Closed September 28, 2018 Require the City to follow its newly developed policy regarding the execution of a written agreement that is signed and dated by all parties before the commitment of any funds in IDIS.