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D.C. Gains Access to AIDS Funds

D.C. Gains Access to AIDS Funds

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says it is releasing more than $12.2 million in Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS grant money for the district and surrounding areas after concerns about funding oversight were allayed.

In an earlier report, HUD said the District Department of Health had failed to issue a timely 2008 audit as required by law; was not reviewing audits from organizations that received grant money; and submitted inaccurate federal cash transaction reports for several years dating back to 2005.

In her letter last week to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, HUD Assistant Secretary Mercedes Marquez said, "The findings and concerns identified in the monitoring report are closed."

Marquez worked with D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration Director Shannon L. Hader and City Council member David I. Catania (I-At Large) in response to HUD's concerns. Catania, chair of the council's health committee, held a series of Friday meetings with Hader and DOH Director Pierre Vigilance to identify and resolve problems. For example, they found the city's audit was delayed in part because the chief financial officer's office did not have procedures in place for reviewing information submitted by DOH.

Marquez' letter commended the city's actions.

The district shares the grant money with Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties in Virginia, as well as Prince George's County, which oversees services in much of southern Maryland. Separate HUD reports on site visits and technical assistance raised concerns about programs in some of those jurisdictions.

In 2009, the district returned more than $500,000 in HUD AIDS housing funds after failing to address problems raised by the agency in 2003 and 2006.

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