Yuma Sun

County consortium must return $1.7M to feds

Error led to hud overpaymen­t of home funds


Following a mistake by the federal government, the Yuma County HOME Consortium will have to pay back $1.7 million due to funding overpaymen­t.

In an update to the Yuma City Council during a Tuesday work session, Rhonda Lee-james, assistant director of planning and neighborho­od services, shared recommenda­tions for using Community Developmen­t Block Grant and HOME project funding for fiscal year 2023/24.

In her presentati­on, Lee-james explained that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developmen­t made a mistake in the formula when the Yuma County HOME Consortium first applied in 2016. HUD uses a formula to determine grant amounts, based on population and other multiple factors.

Yuma’s population was not enough to qualify for HOME funds so the city joined with other local government­s in Yuma County and formed the consortium.

“By joining together we did become large enough to receive the funds and so that money can be used countywide,” Lee-james explained.

HUD awarded the consortium $977,984 in 2019 and $1.04 million in 2020.

In 2021, when Yuma County received $753,444, the consortium discovered that HUD had made a mistake in the formula.

HUD has now decided that the Yuma County consortium needs to pay back the $1.7 million that it overpaid in the previous years.

“We’re now being penalized, if you will. Our allocation is being reduced to the tune of $440,000 each year for the next four years in order to pay back that $1.7 million,” Lee-james explained.

“It’s unfortunat­e, the money that goes for affordable housing is the one that we’ve taken this pretty big hit on,” she added.

The amount for 2022, at $411,329, was greatly reduced. For the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1, the consortium will receive $378,564.

The HOME program, which is not an acronym, is strictly for the creation or preservati­on of affordable housing. The process begins in November when the consortium invites nonprofit organizati­ons and government­s to submit proposals.

In January, the consortium board reviews the applicatio­ns and makes funding recommenda­tions.

Altogether, the consortium will have $419,714 this coming year due to $41,150 in returned funds that were not used in previous proposals.

Because of the reduced allocation, the consortium decided to focus on one project at a time to try to “make the biggest impact.”

The board received three applicatio­ns and decided the “best choice” is to award $325,073 to Magnolia Gardens, a rental developmen­t project on Magnolia Avenue in Yuma. It’s offered by

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