Release: Audit Finds DHCD Is Improving How It Tracks Vacant Housing and Contracts

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Bill Henry
Comptroller,
Baltimore City
204 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-5410

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Geoff Shannon, Public Relations Officer
(410) 387-5704

geoff.shannon@baltimorecity.gov

 

Baltimore, MD - Comptroller Bill Henry and City Auditor Josh Pasch this week presented the Biennial Performance Audit for the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) at the November 17th Board of Estimates meeting.

The Department of Audits evaluated whether the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) can effectively identify and account for the City’s vacant properties. Auditors also examined prior findings and recommendations made in the DHCD’s 2019 Biennial Performance Audit Report.

Concerning vacant properties, Audits examined how DHCD currently calculates its property reporting and compared that process to data from various federal agencies. Using that information, DHCD established to Audits that they have effective processes and controls to identify and accurately account for the city’s 15,610 designated vacant properties.

“Having an accurate account of vacant properties is key to any potential revitalization efforts,” Comptroller Henry said. “We’re able to better grow our city when we have precise information to help identify problems and establish solutions.”

DHCD has also fully implemented one recommendation from its previous Biennial Performance Audit and is working to complete a second recommendation. The agency is in the process of reevaluating its target goals for zoning and permit inspections, which meets its obligation set by the Department of Audits. DHCD is also improving how it tracks contractor data and performance reports with the goal of implementing new tracking software by late 2022.

“We’ve worked really hard to maintain an accurate and open listing of all vacants in the City,” DHCD Deputy Commissioner Jason Hessler said. “We encourage the public to utilize CoDeMap to review this information.”

The full DHCD 2021 Biennial Audit Report can be found at https://comptroller.baltimorecity.gov/audits/reports.

This is the third of seven performance audits that are part of the 2021 Biennial Audit plan approved by the Biennial Audits Commission this past March. A full schedule of audits is listed at https://comptroller.baltimorecity.gov/audits.

Background

The Department of Audits (DOA) is the city's independent auditor, providing various audit attestation engagements and assurance services with the overall goal of improving government accountability.

The DOA, pursuant to Article V § 11, performs biennial audits of agencies. In 2021, this includes the Department of Finance, the Department of Public Works, the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of General Services, the Baltimore Development Corporation, Baltimore City Information Technology, and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services.

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