Oregon audit finds problems in housing programs

Secretary of state finds duplication, overlap, fragmentation

SALEM, Ore. - An audit released Thursday found significant duplication, overlap and fragmentation throughout 120 state programs that help low-income Oregonians obtain safe and affordable housing as well as other needed services.

"Obtaining affordable housing is critical for Oregonians trying to escape the cycle of poverty and become self-sufficient," said Secretary of State Kate Brown. "Oregon cannot afford wasteful duplication. We need to be sure that tax dollars are being spent efficiently and stretched as far as possible."

The audit looked at 49 programs administered by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department and another 71 programs administered by an additional 16 state agencies.

Auditors reviewed Housing and Community Services' Single and Multi-Family Housing, Homeless, Rent Assistance, Food, Energy and Weatherization and Volunteer programs.

The auditors  found duplication in most of these areas. They found some overlap in all program areas for program missions, services provided, targeted beneficiaries and service delivery methods.

Additionally, auditors found duplication, overlap and fragmentation between programs administered by Housing and Community Services and programs administered by other state agencies.

Brown praised Housing Director Margaret Van Vliet, who has already begun a thorough review of the agency.

Gov. John Kitzhaber proposed, and the Legislature adopted a budget that requires the housing department to prepare a re-organization plan before next February in order to receive funding for the second year of the biennium.

The research and analysis for the development of the plan is underway, with information and updates on the process posted on the "Agency Transition Planning" page on with OHCS webpage.

The audit, which was based upon methods used by the U.S. Government Accountability Office,  recommends a top-to-bottom evaluation of the benefits and costs of reducing duplication, overlap and fragmentation in these programs.

The report can be found at www.sos.state.or.us/audits.

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