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We audited the Warren Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program as part of the activities in our fiscal year 2013 annual audit plan.  We selected the Authority based on a citizen’s complaint to our office.  Our objective was to determine whether the Authority administered its program in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) requirements.

The Authority did not adequately enforce HUD’s housing quality standards.  Specifically, it did not ensure that 50 program units met HUD’s minimum housing quality standards, and 25 had material violations.  As a result, the Authority’s households were subjected to health- and safety-related violations, and the Authority did not properly use its program funds when it failed to ensure that the units complied with HUD’s housing quality standards.  The Authority disbursed nearly $31,000 for the 25 units that materially failed to meet HUD’s housing quality standards. We estimate that the Authority can avoid spending nearly $600,000 in housing assistance payments over the next year for units that are not decent, safe, and sanitary.

We recommend that the Director of HUD’s Cleveland Office of Public Housing require the Authority to (1) certify, along with the owners, that the applicable housing quality standards violations have been corrected for the 50 units cited in this report; (2) reimburse its program nearly $31,000 from non-Federal funds for the 25 units that materially failed; (3) implement adequate procedures and controls to ensure that all units meet HUD’s housing quality standards to prevent nearly $600,000 in program funds from being spent on units that are not decent, safe, and sanitary over the next year; and (4) implement adequate procedures and controls to address the issues cited in this audit report.