oversight

HA of the City of Utica, Utica, NY

Published by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General on 1998-05-18.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                       U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
                                                                New York/New Jersey Office
                                                             Jacob K. Javits Federal Building
                                                               26 Federal Plaza - Room 3430
                                                           New York, New York 10278-0068


                                                       OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
                                                                        Office of Audit


May 18, 1998                                                       Audit Related Memorandum
                                                                   No. 98-NY-209-1803



MEMORANDUM FOR:              Joan Spilman, Director, Office of Public Housing
                                              Buffalo Area Office


FROM:          Alexander C. Malloy, District Inspector General for Audit
                                       New York/New Jersey

SUBJECT:       Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica
               Public Housing Drug Elimination Program
               Utica, New York


We conducted an audit of the City of Utica’s Municipal Housing Authority’s (PHA) Public
Housing Drug Elimination Program (PHDEP) for Fiscal Years 1994 through 1996. The purpose
of the review was to determine whether the PHA used its PHDEP grants to effectively reduce
drug related crime and to evaluate the benefits of the program.

As provided in the Conclusion section of this memorandum, we found that the PHA has
developed, implemented, and administered the PHDEP grant in an economical, efficient and
effective manner. We also found that the PHA has made adequate efforts in reducing drug related
crime, and that the residents of the PHA are satisfied with the results of the program.
Consequently, our review did not disclose any reportable deficiencies.

If you or your staff have questions, you should contact William H. Rooney, Assistant District
Inspector General for Audit, on (212) 264-8000, extension 3976.

A copy of this memorandum has been provided to the PHA.
Background

The goals of the PHDEP are to eliminate drug related crimes and problems associated with it;
encourage Housing Authorities and Resident Management Corporations to develop a plan to
address drugs and other related problems that includes prevention and intervention initiatives that
can be sustained over a period of several years. Also, HUD encourages PHAs in its Notice of
Fund Availability (NOFA) to utilize the PHDEP for other eligible activities such as job training,
employment opportunities, economical and educational opportunities, and referrals for family
support services. The PHA targets family developments where the greatest need exists for support
provided by the PHDEP.

To receive PHDEP funding, PHAs must submit an annual grant application to HUD, using a
PHDEP application kit, which contains eligibility requirements, selection information and rating
criteria. The number of points an application receives depends on the extent to which an
application is responsive to information requested in the NOFA. Applications are evaluated based
on four selection criteria: (1) extent of crime at PHA sites; (2) quality of the PHAs anti-crime
plan; (3) capacity of the PHA to implement its plan; and (4) extent to which residents and locality
participate in and support the PHA’s anti-crime plan.

The PHA received its first PHDEP grant in 1990 and has received additional grants every year.
The PHA uses its PHDEP grant funds in three main areas: law enforcement for additional security
and protective services (line item 9110); drug prevention and intervention personnel (line item
9170); and security consultants to monitor all aspects of security for the projects (line item 9120).

For Fiscal Years 1994 through 1996, the PHA received and disbursed PHDEP grant funds as
follows:




Fiscal Year              Grant Award          Disbursed (as of 12/31/97)     Remaining Balance

1994                     $296,250             $296,250                              $        0

1995                     $330,600             $330,600                              $        0

1996                     $326,400             $152,561                       $173,839

Totals                   $953,250             $779,411                       $173,839



Scope

We limited our review to the PHA’s controls and procedures over the administration and
implementation of the PHDEP for Fiscal Years 1994 through 1996. Our objectives were to ensure
that applicable program goals were being achieved in law enforcement, drug
prevention/intervention, and security consulting. To achieve our audit objectives, we:

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       •   Interviewed the managers of HUD Buffalo Area Office, Public Housing Division
           (PIH), Operations Manager to determine what controls the PIH has in place to
           confirm the receipt of required Performance and Financial Reports. Also, we wanted
           to determine whether any sanctions have been imposed on the PHA for noncompliance
           of the Grant Agreement(s).

       •   Interviewed PHA staff on administrative practices over the PHDEP to evaluate if the
           PHA was performing in an economical and effective manner.

       •   Interviewed Tenant Commissioners, Presidents of Tenant Organizations, and a Tenant
           Secretary to obtain their opinions regarding tenants’ satisfaction and the effectiveness
           of the PHDEP pertaining to security and drug prevention/intervention.

       •   Interviewed the PHA’s Drug Advisor to obtain his opinion on the overall impact of the
           PHDEP at the PHA.

       •   Reviewed PHDEP vouchers totaling $153,560.69 ($100,108.22 from FY 95
           representing 30% of total expenditures and $53,452.47 from FY 96 representing 35%
           of total expenditures) to determine the reasonableness and eligibility of program costs.

       •   Reviewed HUD’s Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS) and accounting records to
           ensure grant disbursements were made in a timely manner.

       •   Reviewed documentation supporting the PHA’s application and outcome reports to
           evaluate whether the PHA made satisfactory progress toward its drug elimination
           goals.

       •   Interviewed PHA staff on the PHDEP application process and possible PHDEP
           program improvements.

Audit work was performed in January and February, 1998 and covered the audit period from
October 1, 1994 through September 30, 1997 and was extended to include subsequent periods
where appropriate.



Conclusion

The PHA has developed Drug Elimination Plans which target the specific needs of its
developments. Further, the PHA’s programs have been effective in making the residents feel safer
by sensing a reduction of crime in their developments. Likewise, there is evidence that drug
related arrests have decreased in the PHA developments since the start of the PHDEP. Regarding
drug prevention, the PHA has an extensive approach to provide alternatives to drugs. They have
established partnerships with community based organization along with providing in-house
programs for the youth and adult residents. The amounts expended to carry out these programs,
under the FY 1995 and FY 1996 grants, were eligible program expenses. Moreover, the PHA’s
semi-annual performance reports were submitted timely.



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The semi-annual outcome reports were to be a means to show details and provide a measurement
of progress in drug elimination efforts. However, the PHA was unable to provide the information
requested in the manner HUD outlined. Likewise, the PHA was unable to provide the information
timely. One reason for this is that the Utica Police Department’s crime data tracking system is not
computerized and the arrest information is not maintained in a manner that would identify PHA
residents. Thus, the PHA had to rely on the Utica Observer-Dispatch, its local newspaper, to
obtain information on the arrests of its tenants. The information in the newspaper may not include
all crimes because they are published as space allows. Further, the statistical information needed
to report was not available within the 30 day reporting period. Also, the Uniform Crime Reports
do not provide crime information on a semi-annual basis, only yearly. As such, the outcome
reports did not provide an effective means to measure the impact of the PHDEP funds on crime
rates.

However, our review disclosed that the PHA has made ample attempts to obtain crime statistics
affecting the PHA. Moreover, the PHA utilizes the crime information in developing its plans to
provide security coverage. Further, our interviews of tenants revealed that they are satisfied with
the efforts that the PHA has made in providing a safe living environment. Also, the PHA officials
we spoke with felt that the PHDEP program has been effective in achieving its goals.

The PHA’s drug prevention efforts are evident through the following programs:

       •   The PHA’s involvement with PRIDE, The Parent’s Resource Institute for Drug
           Education, which has been leading the fight to prevent illegal drug and alcohol use by
           young people. The trained facilitator role is to educate the PHA parents about their
           rights and responsibilities to maintain the health and safety of dependent children.

       •   Utica Community Action, Inc. has provided PHA youth with positive alternatives to
           drugs. The mission of the agency is to assist economically disadvantaged persons to
           attain the skills, knowledge, and motivation to gain self-sufficiency. For example, the
           partnership with the PHA included the establishment of case management at Adrean
           Terrace Opportunity Center offering a full range of social service programs such as
           baby clinics, youth build programs, and pre-employment classes.

       •   Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) entered into a contract with the
           PHA to offer residents a training program entitled “Resident Self-Sufficiency Training”
           providing basic interior maintenance, repair and painting program. Upon completion of
           the program, local unions and contractors have been contacted and requested to
           provide employment opportunities for participants.

As a result of our review, we have determined that the Municipal Housing Authority of the City
of Utica has developed, implemented, and administered the PHDEP grants in an economical,
efficient and effective manner. Consequently, we are not making any recommendations in this
memorandum.




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Distribution
Secretary's Representative, New York/New Jersey, 2AS
Director, Office of Public Housing, 2CPH (2)
Buffalo Area Coordinator, 2CS (2)
Assistant to the Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and
 Management, SDF (Room 7106)
Office of Public and Indian Housing Comptroller, HF
 (Attention: Comptroller's Office), Room 8202 L'PL (5)
Chief Financial Officer, F (Room 10164) (2)
Deputy Chief Financial Officer, FF Room 10166 (2)
(Acting) Assistant to the Secretary for Labor Relations, S L, Room 7118
Associate General Counsel, Office of Assisted Housing and Community
 Development, GC (Room 8162)
Field Comptroller, Midwest Field Office, 5AF
Office of Comptroller, Mid-Atlantic Field Office, 3AFI
Executive Director, Municipal Housing Authority of the City of Utica,
 Utica, New York


Inspector General, G Room 8256
Public Affairs Officer, G, Room 8256
Counsel to IG, GC, Room 8260
HUD Webmaster, GAA Room 8172
Assistant Inspector General, GA Room 8286
Deputy AIG, GA Room 8286
Director, Research and Planning, GAP, Room 8180
Director, Financial Audits Division, GAF, Room 8282


Director, Housing & Community Development Issue Area
U. S. GAO, 441 G Street, NW, Room 2474
Washington, DC 20548
(Attention: Judy England-Joseph)

Subcommittee on General Oversight & Investigations
O'Neill House Office Building, Room 212
Washington, DC
(Attention: Cindy Sprunger)


Honorable Pete Sessons
Government Reform and Oversight Committee
Congress of the United States
House of Representative
Washington, DC 20510-4305


Honorable John Glenn
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Ranking Member
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-6250

Honorable Dan Burton
Chairman
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-6143

Honorable Fred Thompson
Chairman
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-6250




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