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Laura Chick Opens Can of Whoop Ass on Housing Department

A friend forwarded us a copy of Laura Chick's latest audit of one of LA's embarrassingly screwy departments. This time the Housing Department gets the treatment. We're still skimming through the thing (it's 48 pages of mostly words). However, here is the summary from the helpful summary section of the report:

... our audit found that the Department is unable to demonstrate that it is adequately increasing the supply of affordable housing because the Department has no defined comprehensive goals and performance measures to gauge its overall effectiveness in producing affordable housing from all available resources.

The department is unable to determine the net effect of affordable housing added

through its efforts. For example, during FY 2004 through 2006, 1,069 units were started and completed, to which the City contributed $41,600 per unit; while from January 2005 through October 2006, 172 affordable units were lost. Another 666 units are at a high risk of being lost in the next five years. LAHD did not collect data or assess the effect of losing existing units prior to January 2005. As a result, the net effect of added units and owners opting out of maintaining affordable units could not be determined for our audit period. The summary continued...

In addition, LAHD could not demonstrate how their efforts, along with those of other City agencies, meet the specific needs of the City’s low income and special needs residents. No citywide needs assessment, focused specifically on affordable housing, has been performed. As the lead agency for developing and maintaining affordable housing, LAHD needs to improve coordination with other City agencies such as CRA, HACLA and LAHSA, to develop a citywide strategy and report on citywide results for increasing the net supply of affordable housing.

LAHD should also take a more active role in apprising City officials of impediments to creating and maintaining affordable housing, and obtain support from policymakers to mitigate these barriers. Laura Chick's fascinating audit can be downloaded fro mthe City Controller's web site, here.