To determine the extent of implementation of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Hotels and Motels Used for Homeless and Mixed-Use Temporary Residency (Report 2016-S-49).
According to Department of Housing and Urban Development 2017 data, of the 89,503 homeless people in New York State, 13,002 live in areas outside of New York City (NYC). Counties throughout the State utilize hotels and motels to house a substantial portion of their homeless populations. In fact, for many rural counties, hotels and motels are the only option, as there are no formal shelters. The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has assigned responsibility for the inspection of hotels and motels housing the homeless to local Social Services Districts (SSDs) and to the NYC Department of Homeless Services, but remains responsible for monitoring their activities. Similarly, the Department of Health (DOH) oversees its own district offices and county health offices across the State, excluding NYC, which are responsible for permitting and inspecting temporary residences (hotels and motels).
Our initial audit report concluded that, of the 80 hotels and motels visited, 24 (30 percent) were in generally unsatisfactory condition, exhibiting problems such as mold; water damage; structural damage; and fire safety issues, such as exposed wiring and missing smoke detectors. Further, OTDA had not provided SSDs with sufficient guidance about corrective action plans to address unsatisfactory conditions. Also, while material aspects of OTDA’s inspection program were similar to activities performed by DOH, neither agency had investigated the possibility of sharing information concerning their hotel and motel inspections to minimize duplication of efforts.
We found that OTDA and DOH have implemented all the recommendations contained in our original audit report.
Other Related Audit/Report of Interest
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and Department of Health: Oversight of Hotels and Motels Used for Homeless and Mixed-Use Temporary Residency (2016-S-49)
State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Reilly
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236