Updated on June 4: An audit of the San Francisco Housing Authority finds that the program is about to run out of money, and has serious problems with management, oversight, vision and planning.
Released Monday, the audit examines how well San Francisco’s Housing Authority is managing its multimillion-dollar budget and keeping up with the property needs of its 31,000 clients.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos called for the audit. He says the goal of the audit is to see how SFHA is addressing its tenants’ needs: both the public housing program and the Section 8 program, which helps people pay for housing.
“We know that the new temporary leadership that the agency has is committed to addressing those things,” Campos says, “but we wanted to have a comprehensive review of what has actually happened.”
Part of the challenge involves record keeping at SFHA. Campos says that includes not having the Authority’s board meetings televised, adding to a lack of transparency.
The Housing Authority’s interim executive director, Barbara Smith, is overseeing reforms at the beleaguered agency as it continues to meet its everyday challenges. Smith succeeded the former director, Henry Alvarez, amid accusations that he harassed and mistreated the Authority’s staff. Campos takes a measure of responsibility, as one of San Francisco’s lawmakers, to ensure that changes are made.
“We in local government have not been involved enough in how this agency is managed,” Campos says. “It’s not just about identifying problems and criticizing. It’s also about saying, how do we, all of us, play a role in local government in making (SFHA) a better agency, not just short term, but long term?
“Ms. Smith is trying to do a lot with very little,” he added, “and she certainly deserves our support, but we also need to keep an eye on things just to make sure that things are moving as quickly as they should.”