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We audited the Fairmont-Morgantown Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program because (1) we received a complaint alleging that the Authority did not follow program requirements, (2) the Authority administered 1,117 vouchers and received more than $5.2 million in funding for fiscal year 2016, and (3) we had not audited its program.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority adequately administered its Housing Choice Voucher program in compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements regarding participant eligibility and applicant selection.  This is the first of two reports on the Authority’s program.

The Authority did not comply with HUD’s and its own requirements when administering its Housing Choice Voucher program.  Specifically, it (1) did not conduct criminal background checks of applicants and participants through State or local law enforcement or court records of the local jurisdiction, (2) made housing assistance payments for ineligible participants, (3) did not always obtain written citizenship declarations and properly report family citizenship status, and (4) did not maintain an accurate waiting list for applicant selection.  As a result, the Authority (1) made unsupported housing assistance payments totaling more than $4.9 million, (2) made ineligible housing assistance payments totaling $19,520, (3) did not maintain and report correct family citizenship status, and (4) did not treat program applicants fairly and consistently.  

We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) provide documentation to show that adult members of households for whom the Authority made housing assistance payments totaling more than $4.9 million were not engaged in drug-related or violent criminal activity or repay its program from non-Federal funds for any amounts it cannot support and if the participants are deemed ineligible, follow applicable regulations to terminate or modify assistance; (2) repay its program $19,520 from non-Federal funds for the ineligible housing assistance payments; (3) correct the errors identified by the audit; and (4) develop and implement controls to ensure that it follows policies and procedures required by its administrative plan.  We also recommend that the Director of HUD’s Baltimore Office of Public Housing refer the Authority to the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for a review of the Authority’s waiting list to ensure that all areas comply with HUD requirements.