We audited the Virgin Islands Housing Authority’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program’s housing quality standards as part of the activities in our fiscal year 2015 audit plan. We selected the Authority because it had a large program receiving more than $14 million in 2014. Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority’s inspection process adequately ensured that its units complied with housing quality standards.
The Authority’s inspections were not adequate for enforcing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) housing quality standards. Of 65 program units inspected, 62 failed to comply with HUD’s minimum housing quality standards, and 44 of those were in material noncompliance with the standards. For the 44 units in material noncompliance, the Authority’s inspectors failed to observe or report 467 violations that existed when they conducted their last inspections. As a result, some tenants lived in inadequately maintained units, and the Authority disbursed $139,747 in housing assistance payments and received $12,737 in administrative fees for the 44 units in material noncompliance with HUD standards. Unless the Authority improves its inspection program and ensures that all of its units materially meet minimum housing quality standards, we estimate that over the next year, HUD will pay about $6.2 million in housing assistance for units in material noncompliance with the standards.
We recommend that HUD require the Authority to (1) reimburse its program more than $152,000 from non-Federal funds for the 44 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s requirements; (2) ensure that all violations cited for the units failing to meet housing quality standards have been corrected and certify that the units meet the standards; and (3) implement adequate policies and procedures, including staff training, to ensure that all units meet HUD’s housing quality standards to prevent more than $6.2 million in program funds from being spent on units that do not comply with HUD’s requirements over the next year.