86 percent of inspected Memphis housing units fail quality requirements

Published: Oct. 20, 2014 at 9:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2014 at 10:19 PM CDT
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Incorrectly installed high-voltage outlet, which is hanging from its electrical wiring (Photo...
Incorrectly installed high-voltage outlet, which is hanging from its electrical wiring (Photo Source: OIG)
Rotted fascia and soffit. (Photo Source: OIG)
Rotted fascia and soffit. (Photo Source: OIG)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Out of 90 housing units inspected in Memphis for an audit, 77 failed to comply with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's minimum quality requirements.

The Officer of Inspector General (OIG) officials discovered hundreds of deficiencies in Memphis Housing Authority (MHA) Choice Voucher Program units.

From excess mold to faulty electrical wiring, OIG reported 494 housing violations in units, some of which families are currently living in.

Click here for pictures.

Additionally, 71 percent of inspected units had life-threatening health and safety issues.

OIG determined that the violations occurred because inspectors with MHA's quality control program lacked "sufficient knowledge of HUD's housing quality standards and missed opportunities to improve inspector performance."

MHA received more than $203.6 million in program funding since 2006.

The audit recommends that HUD require MHA to reimburse its program of $68,158 from non-federal funds for 58 of the units that were in "material noncompliance" with standards. This measure would ensure that $34 million in program funds will be used for units that are safe and sanitary.

According to MHA Executive Director Robert Lipscomb, overall the 7,000 units that house HCV families are compliant with quality standard.

"Over the past decade, MHA has made tremendous and positive progress to our HCV [housing choice vouchers] program," Lipscomb wrote in the audit conclusion. "We take our mission seriously, which is shown by our continued commitment to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing. MHA continues to extend its commitment to complying with HUD requirements despite the increased challenges brought about by insufficient funding of its programs."

Regarding MHA's statement, says OIG can only offer conservative evaluations.

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