Why this audit is important
Voters in the Metro region approved a ballot measure to fund supportive housing services in May 2020. The measure was intended to generate about $250 million annually to provide rental assistance and other services to reduce chronic homelessness and prevent people from becoming homeless.
This audit was designed to take an early look at the performances measures for the region’s supportive housing services program. Performance measures provide accountability and transparency in the management of public resources.
They typically link program inputs, outputs and outcomes to show what can be expected from new or existing resources.
Source: Auditor’s Office analysis of performance measurement best practices from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
What we found
An incremental approach to performance management will be needed to be responsive to the unique challenges facing the region at this moment in time. Uncertainties about the inputs of supportive housing services like available revenue and supply and demand for services make it more difficult to set reasonable performance targets for outputs and outcomes. Each input has been impacted by COVID-19 and the wildfires that occurred in 2020.
Regional goals and measures were approved in December 2020, but they did not identify data sources. Data challenges could impact the comparability, reliability, and accuracy of what gets measured. Some common data points to evaluate outputs and outcomes are already tracked in each county, which can provide a starting point for performance measures and targets.
New revenue may double or triple available funding
Source: Auditor’s Office analysis of Regional Supportive Housing Services: Tri-County Data Scan, Kristina Smock Consulting, November 2020.
The way tax revenue was allocated among the counties has the potential to create inequities. Some variation in funding per individual may be appropriate given the different service models among the counties. However, it could be difficult to sustain for the duration of the program if one county continues to have 85% of the region’s priority population, but receives 45% of the tax revenue.
What we recommend
The report includes three recommendations to be responsive to uncertainty about the measure’s inputs, strengthen oversight and accountability, and ensure compliance with the program’s requirements.