In an audit released Thursday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli reported that the state housing project Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) must make greater efforts to aid low-income residents in finding affordable housing.
According to the audit, HCR did not make full use of the $9.5 billion in financing it received during the five-year time period for which the audit was conducted. This shortfall, the audit reports, resulted in decreased program participation despite an intensified need for affordable housing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The audit found a low allocation of Section 8 housing choice vouchers, as HCR has not met the federal threshold of 95 percent voucher usage. Auditors also found that the number of areas in the state with low voucher utilization has increased, meaning that even where individuals receive vouchers, they may not be able to use them.
DiNapoli also said HCR must improve its system of addressing health and safety concerns that could result in tenant injuries. He recommended that HCR determine the barriers that are preventing the use of the housing choice vouchers, increase the use of the HCR’s available finances and strengthen oversight of housing inspections to ensure health and safety issues are remedied in a timely and quality fashion.