The majority of grants awarded to homeowners through the state’s Affordable Home Ownership Development Program are being given only to eligible recipients, according to an audit by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The program, overseen by the Affordable Housing Corporation, which is a division of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, provides up to $40,000 in grants to existing and prospective low- and moderate-income homeowners across the state.
“Protecting and expanding homeownership for New York’s families is critical to local communities and to the state’s overall economy,” DiNapoli said. “While there is some room for improvement, the Affordable Home Ownership Development Program is working well to help ease the shortage of affordable housing.”
The program, designed to promote home ownership and stimulate development, provides grants to cover the cost of home construction, improvement, or purchase. In recent years, the state Legislature has appropriated $25 million annually for the program.
DiNapoli’s auditors examined 69 grants awarded by the program from February 2012 to October 2013 to determine if they were given to recipients who met income and liquid asset eligibility requirements. Of the grants examined, auditors found only two ineligible grants and one questionable grant.
- Providing training to grant managers on assessing applicant eligibility, particularly related to liquid asset and annual income limits;
- Continuing to periodically review grant managers’ award files to verify applicants’ compliance with Program eligibility requirements;
- Taking actions, as warranted, with grant managers who do not ensure full compliance with prescribed Program requirements; and
- Clarifying requirements for determinations of applicants’ annual incomes, including reasonable estimates of variable income, such as bonuses.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal agreed with the audit findings. Their responses to DiNapoli’s recommendations are included in the audit. For a copy of the audit, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093014/13s31.pdf
Other recent DiNapoli reports on housing include:
- New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development: 8-A Loan Program
- New York State Homes and Community Renewal: Low Income Housing Trust Fund Program
- Division of Housing and Community Renewal: Housing Preference for Disabled Veterans
- Housing Affordability in New York State, a report that tracked the dramatic increase in New Yorkers whose housing costs are not affordable.