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San Francisco housing organization HomeRise under scrutiny for ‘wasteful’ spending of city funds

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-2-2024


PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-2-2024

06:16

A San Francisco nonprofit whose mission is to help homeless people find housing is coming under scrutiny after a city audit described its use of public funds as “wasteful” and “uncontrolled.”

Concerns about HomeRise’s financial activities date back several years. The San Francisco mayor’s office said in a news release that several city departments had “concerns about the performance and viability of HomeRise” in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

The text on the homepage of the HomeRise website states that the organization’s purpose is “to develop and manage high-quality supportive housing and provide services to individuals, seniors and families experiencing homelessness.”

The audit found that the nonprofit’s use of city funds for “unauthorized or questionable costs” may have taken money away from intended services and from those who needed them.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing previously told the nonprofit’s leadership about concerns about their fiscal operations. But in June 2021, the problems appeared again, prompting HSH to send a corrective letter to HomeRise.

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After several visits with management, an audit was officially requested in early 2022.

In part, the purpose of the audit was to examine how the nonprofit budgeted city funding. However, in attempting to investigate this, the audit states that they were unable to gain a clear understanding of the nonprofit’s expenses due to poor record keeping and the difficulty of finding certain documents.

But it turned out that the majority of the subsidy costs went to staff salaries.

HomeRise City Audit
An audit of city-state staff salaries took up most of the grant costs at HomeRise.

Controller’s office in San Francisco


“We could not determine with certainty the extent of HomeRise’s improper expenditures, or how many unauthorized and inappropriate costs HomeRise submitted to the city for reimbursement,” the audit said.

The mayor’s office said it will take some time for the nonprofit to fully comply, but it is already working hand-in-hand with HSH and MOHCD.

“HSH and MOHCD have already begun to see improvements in the organization’s fiscal and human resources management and are confident that HomeRise’s new leadership team can bring the organization back into compliance and secure its financial footing,” the mayor’s office said in a press release.

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