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Attached is the report on our audit of the Holyoke Housing Authority's (Authority) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program , Audit Report Number 2008-BO-1002, dated November 26, 2007. We audited the Holyoke Housing Authority's (Authority) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program as part of our fiscal year 2007 audit plan. Our objectives were to determine whether the Authority's Section 8 housing units met housing quality standards (HQS) in accordance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements and whether the Authority's inspections of the housing units were timely and sufficient to detect HQS violations.

The Authority did not adequately ensure that its Section 8 housing units met HUD's housing quality standards. Of the 63 program units statistically selected for inspection, 43 failed inspection, and 26 were materially noncompliant with housing quality standards. The Authority did not always perform its inspections in a timely manner; notify the owners of inspection results in a timely manner; or abate the housing assistance payments when repairs were not made as required. The Authority also did not have an adequate quality control process in place to ensure that inspections detected HQS violations or were properly performed and in compliance with HUD's and the Authority's requirements. Based on our statistical sample, we estimate that over the next year, the Authority would use more than $1.6 million in Section 8 housing assistance for units with material housing quality standards violations, if the Authority does not establish effective management controls.

We recommend that the Director of HUD's Boston Office of Public Housing require the Authority to implement controls to ensure that its inspection policies and procedures are followed and that all units meet HUD's housing quality standards to prevent $1.6 million in program funds from being spent on units that are in material noncompliance. The Authority also should be directed to implement controls to ensure that future Section 8 quality control inspections are properly performed and supported by adequate documentation.