Metro Audit Of Affordable Housing Fund Reveals Weak Oversight | Nashville Public Radio

Metro Audit Of Affordable Housing Fund Reveals Weak Oversight

Jul 2, 2019

A new Metro audit describes poor oversight of the city’s affordable housing fund. It reveals significant issues, including slipshod monitoring of how its money is spent.   

The Barnes Housing Trust Fund was launched in 2013, and it’s been a heralded as Nashville’s primary tool for building affordable housing. Over the years, it’s awarded nearly $28 million in city grants to local developers.

But a new audit shows the fund has serious problems with monitoring the impact of its grants, guarding against conflicts of interest and generating accurate progress reports.

According to the review, the fund does have policies and procedures laid out, but they’re not being followed consistently. In one case, the fund vastly overreported the number of units built. Another revealed that Metro land was being donated without getting appraised. And the fund is not regularly generating annual reports. The Barnes Fund has produced only one in the past six years.

What’s more, while the city does monitor grant recipients on whether the units are built or not, there is no detailed, long-term oversight of what the impact of those units have or whether they remain affordable.

Mayor David Briley declined to comment, saying he hasn’t read or been briefed on the audit.