April 8, 2009

HUD bets some on troubled agencies

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it would closely monitor troubled housing authorities about to receive federal stimulus dollars.

The $784 billion federal spending measure included $4 billion allocated to public housing projects and permission for HUD to not include housing authorities listed as troubled as it doled out the funds, USA Today reported Wednesday.

But HUD decided to allocate more than $300 million in stimulus money to 61 housing authorities already cited for previous mismanagement problems.

HUD spokeswoman Donna White said the previously cited agencies would receive the funds because they should have the opportunity to improve their housing.

Some feel the move is risky. The list of so-called troubled housing authorities have been cited, some of them repeatedly, for a variety of problems, including poor record keeping and improper spending, the newspaper said.

I think taxpayers are going to have to steel themselves to hear that a lot of this money has gone down the tubes, Leslie Page of Citizens Against Government Waste told USA Today.

HUD, however, promised vigilance. We're watching this extremely closely, said Peter Grace, special assistant to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.