Feds find financial problems with Indy public housing agency

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – FOX59 has obtained a letter written by federal authorities warning that the Indianapolis Housing Agency is “in non-compliance” regarding documentation of several key financial requirements, including money held in escrow for residents.

IHA received the Dec. 2 letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as did Mayor Joe Hogsett, who is in the midst of hiring a new executive director for the troubled agency and remaking its Board of Directors.

The letter found IHA was derelict in multiple areas and risked administrative sanctions if it doesn’t comply.

IHA’s 2019 budget will total $77 million in federal funds to provide housing for 22,000 Marion County residents.

The agency carries a waiting list of between 12,000 and 153,000 potential residents for its apartment properties and Section 8 housing vouchers.

The letter determined IHA was non-compliant with several federal codes regarding administrative fees, its annual contributions contract with HUD, program accounts and records and the Family Self-Sufficiency Escrow.

FSS is a program that allows IHA to bank money owed to residents for employment and training, transportation, education and home-ownership.

One resident provided FOX59 with documentation which indicated IHA was not able to track down the money in her account in 2017 even though a report by the State Board of Accounts determined the agency carried an FSS escrow balance of $1,125.655 at the end of that year.

That audit found “significant deficiencies” in IHA accounting.

The HUD letter warned that “Non-compliance may result in future administrative sanctions against the IHA. The IHA may also be determined to be in default of its Annual Contributions Contract.”

IHA has refused multiple requests by FOX59 to provide more detailed documentation of the HUD findings only to report that the non-compliance determination is “still pending review” and, citing an exemption of the Indiana Access to Public Records Act, “negotiations are in progress.”

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