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Audit reveals problems persists for South Bend Housing Authority

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Housing Authority of South Bend has been in a "troubled status" with the Federal Government since an audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, back in 2013.

the Authority's latest internal audit showed that problems are still persisting.

The Housing Authority of South Bend is in charge of the City's public housing and is responsible for issuing housing choice vouchers that help low income families get affordable housing.

But the latest internal audit, filed with the State Board of Accounts on Wednesday, showed continued problems with the waiting list for its programs.

The audit covered a period from October 1st, 2016 to September 30th, 2017.

To make sure the people most in need received housing first, applicants were issued preference points.

Out of 15 new admissions tested, auditors found 10 instances where the preference points listed on an application did not agree with amounts listed on the waiting list.

Three instances were found where dates and times of applications did not match the dates and times listed on the wait list for tenants.

There was also one tenant admitted to the program who did not qualify because their income exceeded HUD’s income limit.

As a result, applicants were not being selected for housing in the proper order and this was a repeat occurrence from the last audit in 2016.

The problem first showed up during a 2014 audit.

The audit also found the Authority is not in compliance with HUD’s requirements regarding tenant re-certifications.

The authority blamed the problem on a turnover in staff.

The audit also found the Authority does not have enough cash to cover tenant's security deposits of $190,754.

The report found the Authority either spent these funds on operations or allowed other programs to borrow the funds, which is a violation of the HUD’s regulations.

The Housing Authority has been plagued with problems for several years, leading to the resignation of the Executive Director in 2012 and the replacement of the entire Board of Commissioners in 2015 following an internal audit by HUD that placed it in "troubled status".

Recently it has faced complaints from tenants and the mayor as well about the conditions inside some of the properties.

Claims of bed bugs and roaches have prompted the mayor to write a letter to the Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners demanding reform.

As for this latest audit the City's spokesperson released the following statement:

“The City is working with the Housing Authority board and staff on their journey to improve performance and finances. While the mayor has been vocal about his concerns, he believes this report reflects movement in the right direction. Our ongoing engagement with the Housing Authority will support continued progress.”

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