An audit released this week found Arizona has been slow in dispersing federal housing funds to struggling homeowners. Officials from the Arizona Department of Housing called the audit "misleading."
The audit, authored by the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, found Arizona has spent only 11 percent of the $267.8 million the federal government provided to the state to assist people hurt by the housing crisis.
Michael Trailer, the director of the state's department of housing, called the audit incomplete.
“I think it’s misinformed and misleading," Trailer said. "...the funds have been committed to the homeowner, but in many cases the funds are paid to the lender overtime. So, we are only getting credit for the funds that the lender has received today, but we are not getting credit for the other say $48,000 that’s sitting in the title company waiting to assist the homeowner as those payments become due,” Trailer said.
The audit found Arizona has spent $30.3 million on homeowners. However, Trailer said ADOH has committed about $70 million to struggling homeowners.
The state also spent almost $10 million on administrative expenses, according to the audit. Trailer said those expenses are paying for services that benefit homeowners, such as housing counseling and title fees.
Trailer said the department has also struggled with big banks who don’t want to work with the programs, and said not every homeowner qualifies for assistance because of federal guidelines ADOH must follow.
Arizona is one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to receive money from the federal Hardest Hit Fund, through the U.S. Department of the Treasury.