In the more than 3,000 public housing agencies nationwide funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and particularly inside the 172 that HUD considers the most troubled, ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity found a struggle to combat theft, corruption, and mismanagement. According to the report, one official embezzled $900,000 and bought a mansion. Other funds went to support sex workers.
In other words, this is a perfect illustration of why recommending cuts to such assistance programs is not heartless but actually wise -- waste is rampant:
The problems are widespread, from an executive in New Orleans convicted of embezzling more than $900,000 in housing money around the time he bought a lavish Florida mansion to federal funds wrongly being spent to provide housing for sex offenders or to pay vouchers to residents long since dead.
Despite red flags from its own internal watchdog, HUD has continued to plow fresh federal dollars into these troubled agencies, including $218 million in stimulus funds since 2009, the joint investigation found.
The ultimate victims of such mismanagement are impoverished Americans who rely on federally funded local public housing agencies to provide them with a clean, safe place to live.
“We’re failing these tenants, we’re failing the taxpayers,” said Kenneth Donohue, who recently retired as the HUD inspector general in charge of rooting out waste, fraud and abuse from the federal housing program.
Forget accusations about trying to eradicate the social safety net by making budgetary cuts. By providing more money to ineffective, wasteful programs, bureaucrats commit that very crime -- except they also take taxpayer money with them.