News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 26, 2013

Housing Authority audit results in good ‘report card’

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — After some rocky years, the Terre Haute Housing Authority, which provides federally subsidized housing for about 2,000 area families, has received a third-consecutive trouble-free annual, independent audit.

Rich Larsen, a partner with the New Jersey-based accounting firm of Fallon & Larsen, told authority board members Monday evening the audit for the fiscal year ending last September showed the agency in full compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations. He also said the agency is financially strong.

“You’re very well capitalized,” Larsen told board members and Jeff Stewart, the authority’s executive director. “This is a good report.”

Larsen said the Terre Haute Housing Authority has managed its finances well in the past several years, placing itself in a good position to withstand widely anticipated cuts in federal funding.

He also said more than half of the housing authorities his firm audits have come in with compliance problems.

“They compare very well to their peers,” Larsen said after his report to board members.

This is the third year in a row Fallon & Larsen has audited the Terre Haute Housing Authority and each time the agency has been “solid,” Larsen said.

In 2008, HUD classified the Terre Haute Housing Authority as “troubled” due to scoring a zero in the financial portion of its 2006-07 annual audit. At the time, of about 3,400 public housing authorities in the U.S., only about 250 or 300 were regarded as “troubled,” a HUD official told the Tribune-Star at the time. Two years later, HUD audits stated the Terre Haute Housing Authority was falling short in several areas, including capital fund management and following HUD program requirements.

“This is our report card,” executive director Steward, who took over the multi-million-dollar agency in 2008, said after hearing the latest favorable audit Monday evening. “The [housing authority] staff in general does a great job” making sure HUD guidelines are followed, he said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or