I reported last week that the city’s Community Development Block Grant Program received some harsh criticism last year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal body tasked with overseeing CDBG allocation.

The HUD criticism was laid out in an audit of the city’s CDBG program. The audit pointed out a number of serious problems with the program, including poor record-keeping and allocation of grants to too many small causes, which HUD pointed out was an inefficient and costly way to run the program.

The CDBG funds are federal grants that are supposed to be doled out to programs to benefit low- and moderate-income citizens. However, in San Diego, as HUD pointed out, the funds all too often are given to grantees that may not be eligible under the CDBG criteria.

Well, on Tuesday the City Council will start to consider approving changes to the CDBG program, according to a memo from Andrea Tevlin, the city’s independent budget analyst.

Tevlin told me that a focus group has been working on fixing the CDBG issues for the last year or so. They have proposed a number of changes to the system that the city council will consider in the coming months.

In addition to some procedural changes to the program that will go into effect this year, Tevlin said, the council will also be considering large, sweeping reforms that should go into effect before fiscal year 2010.

I asked Tevlin whether the slap on the wrist the city received from HUD in last year’s audit should be of concern to city officials.

“It’s something that needs to be taken very seriously,” she said.


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