Federal Auditors Criticize City Of Memphis Housing Rehab Program

(Memphis) There’s a scathing audit from the feds accusing the city of Memphis of improperly handling a housing program.

HARP is the city’s housing and rehabilitation program.

It’s designed to help citizens repair their homes and eliminate blight.

However, first the feds say the city must clean up how it runs the program.

This audit by the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows contractors hired by Memphis did shoddy work and many of the jobs were done with no oversight.

The feds have the pictures to prove it.

A sink with a leak so bad it damaged a wood cabinet, an electrical panel held together by duct tape instead of screws, a door frame replaced with a termite infested one.

These are just some of the problems documented by HUD. Auditors said the city’s management of the HARP program and the way it resolved code violations was not effective.

People living in Westwood have heard of the problems some of their neighbors were on the receiving end of those bad repair jobs.

“One woman with all that water running from up under her sink and stuff and showing the side of the house where they were supposed to be doing the electricity and stuff. It was just a mess,” said Raymond Robinson, Westwood.

According to auditors, part of the problem is the city never followed through with inspections.

A homeowner on Ledbetter told me a contractor from the Housing and Rehabilitation Program left her electrical system in a mess. Lights outside and inside malfunction.

The work was done in August 2012 and still hasn’t been fixed.

No one was available from the city to talk about the audit today. A spokesperson referred us to its written response to HUD about improvements.

The changes include: New policies and procedures but don’t give specifics, Previous harp inspectors were disciplined and are no longer with the city, Some contractors were also eliminated from the program.

There is now also an independent department to monitor inspections.

And, after a recommendation by HUD, the city agreed to reimburse the program by almost $20,000.

Robinson said, “They should be held responsible because they are the ones who gave the contractor the job and they didn’t do it.”

The city is also re-inspecting all of those old cases so hopefully those homeowners with the electrical problems and leaks will soon get some relief.

6 comments

  • Make Mine Stupid

    Ridiculous! More evidence of people “with friends in high places” being allowed to fleece the system for everything it’s worth. There needs to be more oversite when it comes to how federal funds are spent, for this sort of thing. To many scoundrels out here trying to make a quick buck, in my opinion! People with good reputations should be allowed to do the work, not Lil’ Ray-Ray and his crew. Going in to repair something, and leaving it in worse shape than it was before they began the work? Ridiculous! RIDICULOUS, I tell you!

  • Don

    And, after a recommendation by HUD, the city agreed to reimburse the program by almost $20,000.

    Okay tax payers, this is just another of the city of Memphis leadership being willing to pay with your money on something they have screwed up. Why do you allow this kind of leadership. &You need to clean out City Hall in the next election. The tax payers need to put a stop this corruption. Memphis is the laughing stock of the TN State and most of the states around it. I’d like to see AC and his bunch walking.

  • Randy Brown

    I’m so glad I moved out of mempo. Totally agree people using there power to hire friends and pocket mo money

  • Aubrey

    This is and has been a constant problem for the City of Memphis. Lack of being pro-active instead of reactive. The City leaders are constantly reacting after something happens. Why can’t they preplan and expect certain problems? This way you already have solutions in place to resolve any issues. You need a plan, a backup plan, and a backup plan for the backup plan. After all, we pay our leaders to provide the best solutions, not some half thought out ones. Oh, by the way were those shoddy contractors required to pay back any of the Money? Were their credentials checked beforehand? Now, someone else has to go behind them to correct their errors. Where is the scarecrow when you need him? If I only had a brain…

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