The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

July 27, 2010
Locals defend SHRA's spending on four-plexes

Nice work, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

That was essentially the finding of a special committee the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Commission convened to review an inspector general's report alleging SHRA had misused millions in federal funds for redeveloping neighborhoods hit by the foreclosure crisis.

The HUD's U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of the Inspector General released a scathing report questioning SHRA's use of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to rehab four-plexes at Norcade Circle near Folsom Boulevard and Highway 50, and at Lerwick Road near Watt Avenue and Auburn Boulevard. The IG found the $500,000 SHRA budgeted per four-plex to be exorbitant.

The panel - made up of members appointed by the City Council and Board of Supervisors - heaped praise on agency staff last week and explained that much of the high cost is due to sensible design features.

"All of the air conditioning units were roof mounted as opposed to ground level," commissioner Cyril Shah said. Several others also used that example for why the rehabs cost $500,000 per property as opposed to the $100,000 per property the IG's office said would have been more reasonable.

Commissioners said they feel good about the project and were hopeful the regional HUD office would, too. In mid-September, HUD will issue a response to the IG's report. The IG has recommended SHRA be forced to repay more than $1 million in federal funds and re-budget more than $3.8 million currently budgeted for the Norcade Circle and Lerwick Road properties.

_ Robert Lewis


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