The Housing Authority has lost out on $7.5 million in federal subsidies since 2008 for failing to hire general maintenance workers to perform routine labor despite being told by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to do just that, according to a scathing city audit of the troubled agency.
The audit, released Monday, points out multiple, ongoing deficiencies in the Housing Authority’s management practices. The agency routinely overpays for city services such as police protection and trash collection, does not have the needed staff members to review contracting and procurement services, and has not updated a waiting list for public housing since 2001. While federal budget cuts have made the federally funded housing provider’s job harder, the long-standing management issues have contributed toward the agency’s current $1.8 million deficit and ongoing woes, the audit found.
The audit listed 43 areas in which the authority could improve. Some reforms, such as requiring contracts with more than $30,000 in value to be reviewed by the authority’s commission, are already underway, according to agency spokeswoman Rose Dennis.
Supervisor David Campos, who requested the review in February, said Monday that the audit revealed “things to be a lot worse than I expected them to be.”
Campos said that today he will call for a hearing and city action on the audit.
“Because of mismanagement, a bad situation has become a horrible situation,” he said.
Reforming the Housing Authority — which has an annual budget of $210 million and 289 full-time employees — has been a priority for Mayor Ed Lee since the agency landed on HUD’s “troubled” list in December.
Earlier in the year, Lee secured the resignation of nearly all members of the Housing Authority Commission, whom he has since replaced with city employees. The commission voted to terminate early the contract of former Housing Authority Executive Director Henry Alvarez – who Lee hired in 2007 – in April. A “lack of leadership” was key among the agency’s woes, according to a March letter from HUD.
More than 31,000 people live in some form of publicly financed housing in The City. Over 12,000 people live in the 6,259 public housing units throughout San Francisco, and another 19,000 people live in privately-owned housing units subsidized through the Section 8 voucher program.
Source: Report from Board of Supervisors’ Budget Analyst Harvey Rose