State Asks for Its Money Back

Mar 28, 2017

A community agency in Davenport is in trouble, and may have to pay back a large grant to the state. Last week, the Iowa Finance Authority told United Neighbors it will have to return $235,000 from a rental assistance program.

Chief Programs Officer Carolann Jensen says United Neighbors received a grant from the HOME Program in 2015 that helps low income working people pay their rent. But then starting last fall, inspectors found the local agency did not have the right documents for the grants and had not correctly calculated how much rental assistance the clients needed.

"From the files we saw they had not done inspections of the units to see if they met the standards. And then most concerning, was they had not done lead paint evaluations for those units that had children in them."

That's when the Iowa Finance Authority asked for its money back.

Jensen says United Neighbors received a previous grant from the HOME program in 2013, and there were no problems.

"That's what baffles all of us here is how in that short a time frame, it seemed to degrade in quality and just totally caught us off guard."

One possible explanation is that the agency in Davenport had different people running the program the second time when it was not in compliance.

Jensen says United Neighbors has up to two weeks, until April 7, to appeal the decision.