The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 10, 2013

Northumberland County faces $215,000 tab in DCED mess

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Northumberland County officials have 30 days to verify the municipality properly dispersed funds intended to help those who were homeless or about to become homeless in 2009 or face repaying the state Department of Community and Economic Development $215,150.

The county participated in a federal Housing and Urban Development Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program that distributed $1.5 billion to those in need around the country.

Northumberland County received $365,361 of that grant money through the state Department of Community and Economic Development, some of which was used for administration and management fees.

In a scathing nine-page letter, Beverly A. Hutzel, DCED grant manager, wrote that the program demanded that “all participants applying for the program had to undergo a housing status eligibility determination that must be documented in each case file.”

Files she checked in an audit of Northumberland County lacked required documentation, Hutzel said, adding that some households were deemed ineligible. In fact, Hutzel wrote, a significant number of households submitted by Northumberland County for grant money lacked information sufficient to make them eligible.

“HUD and DCED,” Hutzel wrote, “expect a conscientious and reasonable effort be made by grantees to use the highest documentation standard possible.”

Among those Northumberland County files she audited, “There were a number of households that received (program) assistance that exceeded the annual income limits.”

Read more of this story in Thursday's edition of The Daily Item.