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We audited the Newark Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program. We selected the Authority for review because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorized more than $111 million in program funding for its Housing Choice Voucher Program in fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and based on our risk analysis of public housing agencies located in the State of New Jersey. The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Authority ensured that its program units met HUD’s housing quality standards and whether it abated housing assistance payments when required.

We found that the Authority did not ensure that its program units met housing quality standards, and it did not accurately calculate housing assistance payment abatements. Of 29 program units inspected, 25 did not meet HUD’s housing quality standards, and 23 of those units materially failed to meet HUD’s standards. Further, the Authority incorrectly calculated the abatement amount for 4 of the 20 abated units reviewed. These conditions occurred because the Authority’s inspectors did not apply their housing quality standards training to thoroughly inspect units and it did not have adequate controls over the calculation of abatements. As a result, the Authority disbursed $110,943 in housing assistance payments for units that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards and paid its contractor $708 in fees to inspect these units. Additionally, it disbursed $4,459 for housing assistance payments that should have been abated.  Unless the Authority improves its inspection program and controls over the calculation of abatements, it will continue to pay housing assistance for units that materially fail to meet housing quality standards. Further, its program participants will continue to be subjected to unsafe living conditions.

We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) certify, along with the owners of the 25 units cited in the finding, that the applicable housing quality standards violations have been corrected; (2) reimburse its program $111,651 for the 23 units that materially failed to meet housing quality standards; (3) improve controls over its inspection program; (4) reimburse its program $4,459 for housing assistance payments that were not properly abated; and (5) improve controls over the calculation of abatements.

Recommendations

Key Details
(mouse over or click items for details)
  Open
  Closed
Funds Put to Better Use
Funds Put to Better Use

Recommendations that funds be put to better use estimate funds that could be used more efficiently. For example, recommendations that funds be put to better use could result in reductions in spending, deobligation of funds, or avoidance of unnecessary spending.

Questioned Costs
Questioned Costs

Recommendations with questioned costs identify costs: (A) resulting from an alleged violation of a law, regulation, contract, grant, or other document or agreement governing the use of Federal funds; (B) that are not supported by adequate documentation (also known as an unsupported cost); or (C) that appear unnecessary or unreasonable.

Sensitive
Sensitive

Sensitive information refers to information that could have a damaging import if released to the public and, therefore, must be restricted from public disclosure.

Priority
Priority

We believe these open recommendations, if implemented, will have the greatest impact on helping HUD achieve its mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.

Public and Indian Housing

  •   2018-NY-1008-001-A

    Closed on September 13, 2019

    We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Newark Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to certify, along with the owners of the 25 units cited in the finding, that the applicable housing quality standards violations have been corrected.

  •   2018-NY-1008-001-B
    $111,651.00

    Closed on November 17, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Newark Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to reimburse its program $111,651 from non-Federal funds ($110,943 for housing assistance payments and $708 in associated inspection service fees) for the 23 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards.

  •   2018-NY-1008-001-C

    Closed on December 02, 2019

    We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Newark Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to improve controls over its inspection program to ensure compliance with HUD guidelines and that the results of those inspections are used to enhance the effectiveness of its housing quality standards inspections.

  •   2018-NY-1008-001-D
    $4,459.00

    Closed on November 17, 2023

    We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Newark Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to reimburse its program $4,459 from non-Federal funds for housing assistance payments that should have been abated for units that did not meet housing quality standards.

  •   2018-NY-1008-001-E

    Closed on December 02, 2019

    We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Newark Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to improve controls to ensure that its staff accurately calculates housing assistance payment abatements.