Loudoun will refund nearly $10,000 in federal funds for its housing choice voucher program after an audit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Inspector General found 11 housing units in the program did not meet HUD quality standards.
Of the 11 units, most violations could easily be corrected, but in one they could not. Loudoun has spent $9,715 in housing assistance payments and administrative costs on that unit, for which the inspector general recommended the county reimburse HUD.
According to the inspector general’s audit, the county provided leased housing assistance to 668 households from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, the county’s Housing Choice Voucher Program had a federally funded budget of $6,487,829.
The Office of the Inspector General inspected a sample of 14 units, plus the unit identified in a complaint to HUD. Of those 15 units, 11 did not pass inspection.
According to a report by the inspector general, the problem unit had violations that had gone undetected by the county’s inspector during the last inspection in May 2016.
“The violations occurred mainly because the County’s inspectors, including the inspector who performed quality control inspections, were not aware that some deficiencies were violations and missed some violations during their inspections,” the report stated. “For example, the inspectors did not know that keyed locks on bedroom doors and torn window screens were violations.”
In the problem unit, for which the county will reimburse HUD, the stairwell to the basement was missing a handrail on the side away from the wall, and a bedroom door had a keyed lock.
The inspector general recommended HUD require the county to certify, along with the owners of the 11 units in the citation, that the housing quality violations had been corrected; reimburse the federal funding on the one unit that could not be easily corrected; and provide more training to its inspectors.
In a letter to the inspector general, Sarah Coyle Etro, assistant director of the Loudoun County Department of Family Services, agreed with the report’s conclusions and said the county is already taking steps to meet those recommendations, including reimbursing the program.