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In accordance with our regional plan to review public housing programs and because of weaknesses identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), we reviewed the public housing programs of the Colfax Housing Authority, Colfax, LA.  Our objective was to determine whether the Authority administered its HUD public housing programs in accordance with regulations and guidance.

The Authority did not properly oversee its public housing programs.  Specifically, it

• Made disbursements that lacked adequate supporting documentation;
• Made unsubstantiated payments to its employees;
• Issued payroll checks to the previous executive director’s wife, a nonemployee;
• Cashed certificates of deposit without sufficient explanations;
• Misused cash received from salvaged equipment;
• Did not follow HUD’s and its own procurement requirements;
• Could not account for 22 of 89 appliances purchased with Recovery Act funds; 
• Did not maintain true and accurate records of its board meetings and resolutions; and
• Did not properly maintain adequate documentation for its housing programs’ waiting lists. 

This condition occurred because the Authority lacked proper oversight and adequate internal controls.  As a result, it (1) incurred questioned costs totaling more than one million dollars, (2) did not properly award contracts, and (3) lacked integrity in its daily operations. 

Our recommendations include requiring the Authority to (1) support or repay more than $1 million to its programs or HUD, as applicable, for questioned costs.  This includes more than $100,000 in Recovery Act funds; (2) provide complete, accurate inventory records to identify the appliances purchased with Recovery Act funds and the number of missing appliances; (3) develop adequate written accounting and disbursement policies and procedure; (4) maintain an adequate contract administration system; and (5) provide HUD-approved training to its Board to ensure the commissioners receive written instructions on their roles and responsibilities.