The Multnomah County auditor says he isn’t planning to immediately review how public dollars were spent at a homeless shelter for families that closed earlier this month.
The shelter, run by Human Solutions and funded by the county, has a history of gas leaks, a rodent infestation and a leaking roof.
Auditor Steve March says it will be more efficient to review the county’s investments in the shelter as part of a broader audit he is planning that will review the county’s spending on homelessness.
“I definitely will include that as part of our upcoming audit of the Joint Office of Homeless Services,” he said.
March hasn’t specified a date for the audit.
March said the $700,000 the county spent on the family shelter building is small compared to the county’s overall spending on homeless services, which he estimates at $150 million over the past three years.
County Commissioner Loretta Smith sent a letter to March last week, asking him to investigate why deferred maintenance problems at the shelter weren’t taken care of before it opened.
In a letter, Smith told the auditor she is disheartened by his response.
“Within the past month we have learned of abhorrent conditions in a family shelter run by a nonprofit which has been funded, in significant part, by the county,” she wrote.
“We owe the families who were brought into this shelter a faster and more thorough response.”
The Joint Office Of Homeless Services was last audited in 2017, a year after city and county leaders created it to help coordinate aid and homelessness prevention efforts.
That audit found, among other things, that the Joint Office relied too heavily on a limited number of providers for certain types of services, placing the county at risk if those contractors failed.
It included the Joint Office’s contract with Human Solutions as an example. In the 2017 fiscal year, the nonprofit received close to 50 percent of the county’s total funding for homeless families.
That audit also found the Joint Office needed better metrics to evaluate whether programs aimed at housing homeless people were working.