The King County Regional Homelessness Authority is in a time of transition. Since the departure of our first CEO, the agency has been conducting a full assessment of our work. This includes review of our governance structure, review of programs and operations, a King County Monitoring Report, and state and federal audits.
KCRHA Interim CFO Bill Reichert joined our team in July 2023 and is leading work to assess and improve financial operations. Regular, annual audits and monitoring reports are important tools to illuminate where the agency will make specific operational and oversight improvements.
Key findings and solutions in motion include:
The state audit turned up a few primary issues:
First, there is a need for stronger internal controls to prevent any misstatements in financial reporting. Specifically, the audit found that internal controls must build in enough time to allow for close review.
Here is our solution: Going forward we will have a monthly close review process which will prevent any error and misstatement.
- With better internal review and reconciliation, we will be able to prevent any financial discrepancies in the future.
Second, KCRHA’s internal controls did not ensure compliance with federal requirements in sub-contracts with local service providers. This led to contracts that were missing basic requirements.
Here is our solution: Service providers were alerted to the requirements, and we do not believe there was any unallowable spending.
- These contracts are still valid and service providers are being paid.
- Stronger internal review will ensure all federal requirements are included in contracts.
Third, the findings noted that staff did not have the required knowledge and experience with federal requirements.
Here is our solution: We are providing formal training with HUD support to current staff and are actively recruiting experienced personnel.
King County Monitoring Report
The county report, developed with the City of Seattle, turned up a few issues:
First, there were issues with timely payments to providers, invoicing errors, and inconsistencies with budget tracking.
Here is our solution: KCRHA has already implemented a new system and process for payments, and providers are now being paid for invoices within 30 days. We recognize that we must complete contracts in a timely manner for 2024.
Second, there is a need for better communications about board and committee meetings and more consistent staffing and technical support for board and committees.
Here is our solution: We’ve hired a clerk for the Implementation Board and Governing Committee and are in the process of hiring support for the Continuum of Care Board. With more support for the Continuum of Care Board we can ensure we’re meeting all requirements, including the requirement that we hold two convenings per year.
And third, we need better communications with service providers.
Here is our solution: This is a clear need that we’ve heard directly from service providers, and it is a top priority. We are improving our customer service in the consistency and timing of communications about contracts and monitoring, we’re dedicating time from our communications staff, and our Interim CEO Helen Howell is keeping her door open for direct conversations with service providers.
There were also positive findings in the King County report, highlighting that the agency is already improving financial and operational processes for compliance and accountability; there is strong use of data to drive decision-making; and there is strong engagement with communities across the region.
The federal audit, expected in early October, will have findings that are similar to the state and county reviews.
Monitoring found that contracts weren’t meeting federal requirements, there were delays in reporting and a need for better financial controls and stronger monitoring of service providers.
Here is our solution: The work that we are already doing to improve internal reviews and financial controls, and ensure our staff have the necessary knowledge and experience will address this issue.
During this time of transition, KCRHA is focusing on improving core functions of contracting, systems coordination, and administration as we work to implement the Five-Year Plan. The agency is refocusing on the primary role of unifying and coordinating our homelessness response system, and acting with transparency and accountability, in service of a shared path forward.