Housing And Urban Development Dollars Arriving To Dade With New Warning
Written by Risa Polansky on March 19, 2009
By Risa Polansky
The federal government is handing Miami-Dade more money than any other US locality to rehab homes and combat the foreclosure epidemic — but the county’s troubled housing history has the feds’ guard up.
The US Neighborhood Stabilization Program mandates that Miami-Dade commit its $62.2 million grant in 18 months and spend it all in four years.
But the county has a track record of misspending or not spending housing and community development cash on time, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development hasn’t forgotten.
Its grant agreement places "special conditions" on the county, citing past and outstanding financial management and timeliness issues.
"They’ve got their foot on our neck in the sense that we are not performing in the manner in which they’re expecting us to perform, and staff is working to change that," said Shalley Jones Horn, new county community and economic development director, at a committee meeting last week. "In my opinion we’re in trouble, and there’s no other way to say it."
Because of the sheer amount Miami-Dade is getting, HUD is requiring a management plan by May 4.
By then, the county must submit a "plan of action" to resolve outstanding deficiencies and explain "how the past performance issues will not impact its administration of the NSP program," the conditions say.
Miami-Dade must also prove it can administer the program.
The county’s performance now could determine whether more money will come this way when the feds distribute an added $2 billion recently allocated to neighborhood stabilization.
Ms. Jones Horn warned commissioners that "we may be shut out of that process if we don’t perform properly."
Commissioners Tuesday OK’d an effort to expedite the program.