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We audited the Hartford Housing Authority (Authority) because it was awarded a $5 million Public Housing Capital Fund grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and obligated the majority of the grant just before the required obligation deadline. Our objectives were to determine whether the Authority (1) had adequate management controls over its obligation process, (2) maintained support for obligations, and (3) obligated its grant funds for eligible projects.

Overall, the Authority had adequate controls over obligating and supporting its Recovery Act capital grant. However, it did not always obligate funds for eligible activities.

The Authority planned to use its Recovery Act funds to repair and federalize its State housing units. However, its plans changed when the full scope of the required repairs and funds needed were determined. The Authority shortened the normal procurement time and executed site improvement and boiler replacement contracts for the full amount of the grant before the statutory deadline. The audit showed that most of the Authority's obligations were for eligible activities, properly procured, and adequately supported.

However, the Authority contracted to replace 224 boilers including 33 boilers that had not reached the end of their useful life with boilers that did not meet energy efficiency requirements. If this condition is not corrected, more than $1 million in Recovery Act and annual capital funds may not be used effectively and in accordance the Recovery Act and HUD regulations.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Boston Office of Public Housing ensure that the Authority stops its plans to replace boilers that have not reached the end of their economic life and reprograms $137,850 in future annual capital funds; and ensures that boilers scheduled for replacement in years 2015-2018 are replaced with energy-efficient boilers thereby putting more than $954,000 in Recovery Act funds to better use.