Audit finds fiscal mismanagement of LA’s homeless agency
L.A. is embarking on a massive effort to combat homelessness. But along with that, there are growing pains for the entities tasked with the job.; Credit: David McNew/Getty Images Rina PaltaAbout a year ago, L.A. County voters approved a new sales tax to fight homelessness. Now a new audit has found the agency tasked with managing tens of millions of those taxpayer funds is ill equipped to do so. L.A. County's Auditor-Controller, in a report released Tuesday, found the L.A. Homeless Services Authority is understaffed and lacks adequate financial management to effectively roll out and monitor about $140 million in new funds the agency is receiving. The infusion marked a steep rise in LAHSA's annual budget and is a major chunk of the $355 million being generated a year by Measure H. "There's going to be natural growing pains whenever you scale up," said Rabbi Noah Farkas, chair of the L.A. Homeless Services Authority Commission, which oversees the agency. "Unlike many Silicon Valley corporations that scale up without showing where all the growing pains are, in government it's just different, we have to be transparent." The audit found:
- Delays in signing up and paying contractors.
- Auditors found nearly $5 million of the active $6.9 million in accounts payable was between one and 120 days past due
- High staff turnover in the finance department -- five of seven accounting positions were vacant.