- Office of the State Auditor
Media Contact for Audit Leads to Improvements at Wellesley Housing Authority, but More Work is Needed
Mike Wessler, Communications Director
Boston — An audit of the Wellesley Housing Authority (WHA), released today by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, examined the Authority’s activities related to its inventory, unit inspections, reporting requirements, eligibility determinations, and purchasing activities. The organization reports that it has already made improvements to its policies and procedures to address some of the deficiencies identified; however, the audit notes that in other areas WHA continues to falter.
The audit found significant problems with the Authority’s process for tracking its inventory of appliances. This resulted in uncertainty as to the location of many ranges and refrigerators in its possession. In addition, the audit notes that it did not follow state policies or best practices regarding the purchase of appliances, documentation of rent determinations and housing inspections, and maintenance of its housing waiting lists.
“This audit should serve as a tool for the staff and board of the Wellesley Housing Authority to help them better serve their residents and act more responsibly with taxpayer dollars. The Authority reports it has already made improvements as a result of the audit, however the work is not done. I encourage the Authority to continue to address outstanding problems we have identified,” said Bump.
In its response to the audit, the WHA reported that it has already taken steps to address some of the deficiencies that were identified, including:
- Conducting a full inventory of its ranges and refrigerators;
- Improving its compliance with requirements for annual unit inspections; and
- Training staff on requirements related to management of its waiting lists.
However, the audit notes that WHA must follow proper requirements established by the Department of Housing and Community Development, which provides oversight to housing authorities, regarding its agreement for the Needham Housing Authority to provide daily administration and operations at WHA. Additionally, the audit repeatedly calls on WHA to establish formal policies and procedures to ensure problems do not reemerge.
The WHA is governed by a five-member board of commissioners; four commissioners are elected by the citizens of Wellesley, and one is appointed by the Department of Housing and Community Development in coordination with the Governor. The Authority currently manages and oversees 133 units of state housing for elderly tenants, 90 units of state housing for low-income families, 12 units of scattered housing for low-income families, 1 unit under the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, and an additional 11 units of federal family housing that are administered by the Dedham Housing Authority. The daily administration and operations of the WHA are largely managed by the Needham Housing Authority.