Housing crisis prompts audit – Metro US

Housing crisis prompts audit

Seemingly unable to make a dent in the 10,000-person wait list for social housing, a city committee has ordered an audit into the eligibility assessment and monitoring process for social service applicants.

City auditor Alain Lalonde said the audit would ensure the operators of community housing are complying with rules for processing and monitoring tenants.

“It’s mostly a paper exercise. We look at the legislation and policy and then you look at the practices,” he said. “You go to the people involved and say, ‘Are you doing it?’ If they say ‘yes,’ then you ask them to show you the paperwork.”

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry said looking into social housing is part of the city’s audit cycle, but they moved it forward several months.

“It seems like the list is not moving forward and I’m hoping with this audit we can have a better understanding why,” he said. “I’d like to see the auditor general go more detailed because there are some people in there paying full market value rent.”

Representing social housing tenants, community member Linda Lalonde said they were concerned it would turn into a witch hunt for people cheating the system.

“It’s very important for the safety and security of the people that live there that it is done in a sensitive way so that it is not an attack on low-income people,” she said.

To that end, Coun. Peggy Feltmate attached a directive instructing staff to be sensitive and respectful when dealing with the tenants.

“People need to know this is about the process,” she said. “It’s not about trying to find cheaters in the system.”