michigan

From the Detroit News:

[Mayor] Bing unveiled an unprecedented plan Monday to offer 200 tax-foreclosed homes in the East English Village and Boston-Edison neighborhoods to [police] officers. The plan calls for officers to pay up to $1,000 for the homes while receiving as much as $150,000 apiece in grants to rehabilitate them.

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A recent state-level audit conducted by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General concluded that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) LIHTC allocation policies were in violation of state and federal law. The audit, conducted from July 2007 through August 2009, found that, “MSHDA’s process for allocation of federal LIHTCs did not give preference to projects serving the lowest income tenants and projects obligated to serving qualified tenants for the longest period of time” and, as a result, “MSHDA violated both federal and State statutes and disadvantaged some applicants.”

In particular, the audit uncovered that MSHDA was allocating credits based on a “random lottery”:

The random lottery was used to select projects for the allocation and award of credits, after applying an initial threshold review. However, through the random lottery process, all projects meeting a minimum score were afforded an equal chance of being awarded the LIHTC. Consideration or preference was not made for the higher scoring projects or for those serving the lowest income tenants and projects obligated to serve qualified tenants for the longest period of time.

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An article in today’s Detroit News details a recent audit of The Michigan State Housing Authority (MSHDA):

The state’s housing agency… failed to properly screen its tenants and provided public support to convicted sex offenders, drug dealers, murderers and hundreds of other violent criminals, according to a new state audit.

Here are some critical findings from the audit, conducted between 2004 and 2007, highlighted in the Detroit News:

MSHDA:

provided thousands of dollars in rent for tenants locked up in prison — in one case for more than six years — and paid more than $100,000 in rent for tenants who had died,

until it changed its selection method in 2007, did not give funding preference to housing projects best targeted for low-income people, as required by federal law, and proposals that received the worst scores in terms of helping the poor were more likely to be funded than proposals that scored the best.

didn’t collect “critical information” about tenants, and more than half its tenant files lacked a complete name, Social Security number or date of birth.

did not properly enforce conflict of interest rules and senior MSHDA officials approved funding for a nonprofit agency for which they eventually went to work.

Read the full article from the Detroit News: Audit finds state housing agency risked tenants’ safety renting to violent felons

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