SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane's former top-housing official sent a letter to Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward the day he left his job detailing millions of dollars for housing left unspent.
Former Spokane Neighborhood Housing and Human Services Director John Hall resigned in September, just three months after Mayor Nadine Woodward appointed him to the role.
On his final day at city hall, he sent a 27-page letter to the Mayor and city administrators describing his observations of dysfunction in the city.
In the letter, Hall describes a combination of limited staff and inexperience as the reasons for the delays in distributing several million dollars for housing in the community.
In August, city council approved $10 million in federal affordable housing funding for 11 projects. This would create 220 units of housing. But, Hall wrote that work on these projects hasn't even started.
He said what's even more disappointing is the city has built up $5.4 million from another housing program and it's all gone unspent over the last three years.
On top of that, the city has yet to submit a plan to the U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development on how it will spend $6 million.
City Spokesperson Brian Coddington attributes the delay in spending to limited staffing in the housing department and competing priorities.
"There's only so much staff time to go around and they are moving as quickly as possible," Coddington said. "They want to make sure that they're doing the best work that they can do, because these are heavily regulated funding sources that require auditing both at the state and federal level."
Hall said the city is at risk of losing some of its funding for housing if it doesn't act. But, Coddington said the city has no intention of missing those deadlines.
Hall's letter also lists recommendations to improve the offices in the Housing department, including "My 311" and neighborhood services. Coddington said the city is always looking for ways to improve.
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