Another big unwatched pot of money

Over the last few weeks, a state agency called Oregon Housing and Community Services has come across my screen more than once. First I noticed that they were running out and borrowing close to $300 million, and paying some fairly high interest rates to do so. Then I saw that they received appallingly bad marks in an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

During the height of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency delivered millions of dollars in aid to try and prevent people from being evicted.

At the time, it was well documented the rollout was botched. People complained of waiting weeks without hearing about their applications and there were a myriad of technical difficulties.

It turns out, the agency also had no controls in place to ensure the federal money it sent to local programs aimed at helping struggling tenants was spent appropriately.

In an audit released this week by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office, auditors flagged more than $35 million across 10 state programs that serve the most vulnerable state residents as being possibly misspent....

At the state’s housing agency, auditors found the lack of monitoring in the emergency rental assistance program was so pervasive that auditors issued what’s known as an “adverse” opinion for the first time in more than two decades. Basically, the controls put in place to monitor any misspent funds were so weak, that they would not prevent or even detect if the money was being spent incorrectly.

Auditors randomly tested 61 payments of emergency rental assistance. In one, they discovered a landlord was incorrectly paid $2,700. In another example, rent was doubled, resulting in an overpayment of $5,910. Officials also highlighted seven payments where rental assistance grants had already been paid, resulting in overpayments of $4,191.

The state’s housing agency didn’t dispute the findings.

Who the heck are these people, and what are they supposed to be doing?

Their website says:

Oregon Housing and Community Services is Oregon's housing finance agency, providing financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of lower and moderate income.

OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization – from preventing and ending homelessness, assisting with utilities to keep someone stable, to financing multifamily affordable housing, to encouraging homeownership. It delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers, and has limited direct contact with low-income beneficiaries. OHCS's sources of funds are varied and include federal and state resources that have complex regulatory compliance requirements, and thus stewardship, compliance monitoring, and asset management are all critical functions played by OHCS.

It sounds like they're riding shotgun on the tanks of the nonprofit industrial complex. And with lax financial controls to boot. You can almost smell the waste and the graft all the way from Salem, can't you? Maybe I'm wrong, but you wouldn't catch me buying their bonds.


  1. I’ve had it with the mission statement of a non profit trumping an investigation of a money grabbing scam.

  2. They got over $750 Million to blow on so-called climate crisis as the city crumbles into a mini version of Gotham city. What cronies are in that pipeline?

    1. Gotham city is perfect. Where’s Batman?


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.