Monday, October 15, 2007

This Is Better Than Rent Controls?

Instead of accepting the Government appointed Public Panel on Affordable Housing recommendation that the province introduce rent controls, the government instead did what it loves to do; create a subsidization fund. And as usual with the these kind of Tory schemes this of course was so loosy goosey that it was open to abuse. Not by the users but by the bureaucrats in charge.

And while the internal audit by the department found no fraud, which is irrelevant, what they found was business as usual in this Tired Old Tory government.

And note that the average payment made was $827 dollars while provincial average rental rates are over $1000 per month for a one bedroom apartment. Not only a drop in the proverbial bucket, but less than what is needed for one months rent. And for the rest of the eleven months of they year......nothing. And this is better than rent controls, ha, ha!

Nearly three-in-10 claims granted from a fund to help stave off homelessness were improperly approved -- but no fraud has been found, a provincial audit has concluded.

An internal investigation into the $7-million fund -- which is expected to balloon to $21 million by the end of the year -- found more than $60,000 of the nearly $200,000 put under the microscope was handed out without proper checks and balances.

The Government of Alberta, through Municipal Affairs and Housing, introduced

the Homeless and Eviction Prevention Fund (HEPF) in response to the
recommendations of the Alberta Affordable Housing Task Force. Alberta
Employment Immigration and Industry (AEII) began delivering the program on
May 11, 2007. The program is designed to assist Albertans at risk of losing their
homes due to rent increases and to assist those who require assistance in
establishing a residence.

On July 17, 2007 Global News aired a story alleging that the HEPF was being
abused by individuals presenting inadequate and fraudulent documentation for
rent increases, eviction notices, and utility arrears, and that AEII staff were not
taking sufficient steps to verify the authenticity of the claims. On July 18, 2007,
Minister Evans asked the department’s internal auditors to undertake a review of
the administration of the fund to ensure accountability for the program’s

2. Program Description
The Homeless and Eviction Prevention Fund (HEPF) is designed to assist
Albertans with limited resources who are at risk of losing their homes due to rent
increases and to assist those who require assistance in establishing a residence.
The authority to determine eligibility and to provide benefits under the HEPF is
provided under the Income Supports, Health and Training Benefits Regulation.Review the administration of the HEP Fund to ensure compliance with
program directives, policies, and procedures regarding client’s eligibility and

During this period, payments from the HEP Fund totalled $4,866,406 for 5,880 clients for an average of $827 per client

Of the 239 files reviewed from all regions of the province, 171 files (72%) were
processed in accordance with program directives, policies, and procedures. The
documentation (eviction notices, tenancy agreements, notices of arrears, clients’
bank statements, etc.) in these files and staff comments entered into LISA were
sufficiently detailed to support the HEP Fund benefits issued.

In the remaining 68 files the following observations were noted:

• There were 51 files, totalling $50,462 where there was incomplete
documentation detailing the client’s situation for the auditor to confirm that the
client qualified for benefits from the HEP Fund.

• There were 14 files where benefits issued from the HEP Fund were incorrectly
determined resulting in overpayments totalling $6,357. Included in this group
was one case where $3,923 (62% of total overpayments) was incorrectly issued
to cover mortgage arrears. This occurred within 10 days of the start of the
program which suggests the worker may have inadvertently applied the
Income Support policy which allows shelter benefits to be applied to mortgage

• Three files totalling $5525 were identified by the audit team for supervisor
review and possible referral to the Investigation and Review Branch. It was
noted that two other files ($2524) of the 171 files processed correctly had
already been referred to the Investigation and Review Branch prior to the
commencement of the audit.


The Autumn Of Our Discontent

Transparency Alberta Style

Pay 'Em What They Want

And New York Has Rent Controls

Stelmach Blames Eastern Bums

He Can't Manage

Drumheller Bell Weather

Stelmach Tanks

Alberta Deja Vu

Padrone Me Is This Alberta

Income Trusts


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