Rhode Island housing officials are unable to justify how they spent some federal funds meant for low income housing. That’s one of the findings of a U.S Housing and Urban Development agency audit of the program.
Rhode Island received nearly $20 million dollars from the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The program is aimed at fixing up neighborhoods with abandoned or foreclosed properties. Now a HUD audit has found that state, City of Providence, and Rhode Island Housing officials failed to properly document how they spent some $6 million dollars. The audit recommends the state pay back more than a million dollars.
Specifically, the audit questions whether developers selected to refurbish properties were overpaid. For some properties, the audit raises questions about whether safeguards were in place to ensure the rents remained affordable.
Rhode Island state housing officials say they are addressing the lack of documentation. They say rehabilitating some of the older homes cost more upfront but will save money in the long run, and that funds were used appropriately.
Read HUD's audit of Rhode Island's Neighborhood Stabilization Program.