We audited the Crisfield Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program because we received a hotline complaint alleging that it misused public housing assets and we had never audited the Authority. Our audit objective was to determine whether the Authority (1) ensured that families met eligibility requirements, (2) properly admitted families from the waiting list, (3) correctly calculated housing assistance payments and maintained documentation to support the calculations, (4) ensured that confidential information was properly transmitted electronically, and (5) detected and prevented conflict-of-interest situations. This the first of two reports we will issue on the Authority. The second report will address its public housing programs.
The Authority did not (1) ensure that families met eligibility requirements, (2) always maintain adequate documentation to show that it properly selected families from its waiting list, (3) always make accurate housing assistance payments and utility reimbursements, (4) always maintain documentation to support housing assistance payments and utility reimbursements, and (5) use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Enterprise Income Verification system to verify household income. The Authority also failed to properly safeguard confidential information and detect and prevent conflict-of-interest situations. These conditions occurred because the Authority did not ensure that the responsible staff member was adequately trained to efficiently administer the program and the executive director did not properly supervise the staff member. The Authority also lacked controls to detect and prevent conflict-of-interest situations. As a result, it made ineligible and unsupported housing and utility reimbursements totaling $373,933 and received $42,752 in unsupported administrative fees.
We recommend that HUD direct the Authority to (1) provide documentation to support $280,561 (housing assistance payments totaling $237,809 and $42,752 in administrative fees) or reimburse its program from non-Federal funds for any funds it cannot support, (2) reimburse $17,101 to its program from non-Federal funds or to the appropriate household for miscalculating housing assistance, and (3) reimburse its program $119,023 from non-Federal funds for ineligible payments it made due to the conflict-of-interest situations. We also recommend that HUD’s Departmental Enforcement Center evaluate the apparent conflict-of-interest situations in this report and pursue administrative sanctions if warranted.