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We audited the City of Bridgeport CT’s HOME Investment Partnerships program based on an Office of Inspector General risk assessment, which ranked the City as the second highest risk HOME grantee in New England.  The objective of the audit was to determine whether the City properly committed and disbursed HOME funds in accordance with Federal and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules and regulations.

City officials did not properly administer their HOME program.  Specifically, they did not properly commit and disburse HOME funds in accordance with Federal and HUD rules and regulations.  They did not ensure that they (1) met the commitment deadline for their community housing development organizations’ (CHDO) funds, (2) properly documented and supported their underwriting of activities, (3) complied with environmental review requirements, (4) disbursed funds in accordance with program requirements, (5) maintained adequate support to ensure tenant eligibility and compliance with HOME rental limits, and (6) supported their administrative fees.  These deficiencies occurred because City officials did not establish adequate written underwriting policies and procedures, were not aware of HUD and Federal requirements, and had poor record-keeping practices.  Further, the City’s HOME policies and procedures were outdated.  As a result, they incurred $422,768 in ineligible costs and more than $3.2 million in unsupported costs, and $741,698 in unspent HOME funds will need to be reallocated to eligible activities.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Hartford Office of Community Planning and Development require City officials to (1) repay $422,768 in ineligible costs related to the City’s failure to meet commitment deadlines and complete activities in accordance with the HOME agreement and HOME regulations; (2) support that more than $3.2 million was reasonable and supported, or repay the funds, (3) reallocate $741,698 in unspent funds to ensure they will be put to their intended use; and (4) develop and implement adequate and updated HOME policies and procedures and tools to improve record-keeping practices.