Federal housing funding meant to alleviate an affordability crisis in New York has in some cases been too slowly distributed and could put future funding at risk, an audit released by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.
The audit reviewed the management of federal funding by Homes and Community Renewal as well as its local administrator. Investigators found the delayed funding could lead to problems for housing relief programs or specific housing projects, and money could be lost as a result due to federal deadlines for COVID-19 relief funds.
“The state continues to navigate the difficult waters of the post-pandemic housing crisis,” DiNapoli said. “We need every dollar available for housing needs in our state, particularly those that can help bolster affordable housing. HCR must work more efficiently to ensure the unprecedented federal relief funds help New Yorkers in need and are not lost because of unnecessary delays and miscommunications.”
New York's housing programs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid for affordable housing programs, including $244 million for community development block grants and $127 million in funding through COVID relief aid.
And New York received an additional $93 million in COVID relief aid with a funding agreement through 2030.
But the use of the money is governed by set time frames, especially under money made available through emergency COVID relief programs.
DiNapoli's office recommended housing relief programs work with local administrators to make sure funding that is tied to COVID relief is being spent in a timely manner and reduce delays in completing the work.
The audit also recommended improving internal controls over the administration of community development block grants and better monitoring of contractors.