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We audited the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program based on the activities included in our 2016 annual audit plan and our analysis of risk factors related to the public housing agencies in Region 5’s jurisdiction.  Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority appropriately managed its Family Self-Sufficiency program and Housing Choice Voucher program files in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) and its own requirements.

The Authority failed to appropriately manage its Family Self-Sufficiency program.  As a result, HUD and the Authority lacked assurance that (1) program participants benefited from the program or made progress toward self-sufficiency, (2) escrow balances and monthly escrow deposits totaling nearly $60,000 in HUD’s and its own systems were accurate and reliable, and (3) more than $400,000 in coordinator grant funds and escrow disbursements were used appropriately.  In addition, it inappropriately disbursed more than $23,000 in program funds for ineligible program graduates.  If the Authority does not develop and implement adequate procedures and controls for its program, it could inappropriately use nearly $128,000 in coordinator grant funds over the next year.

The Authority did not always comply with HUD’s and its own requirements for its Housing Choice Voucher program files.  Specifically, it did not always correctly calculate and support housing assistance payments and perform household reexaminations in a timely manner.  As a result, the Authority inappropriately paid nearly $32,000 and had nearly $2,000 in unsupported housing assistance payments.  If the Authority does not correct its certification process, it could overpay nearly $323,000 in housing assistance over the next year.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public and Indian Housing require the Authority to (1) support or reimburse its programs from non-Federal funds for escrow calculations and disbursements, coordinator grant funds, and housing assistance payments; (2) reimburse its programs from non-Federal funds for the ineligible escrow disbursements and housing assistance payments; (3) ensure that program funds are used effectively; and (4) implement adequate procedures and controls to correct the findings cited in this audit report.