MultCo directs $66M of COVID-relief to housing, rent costs

Multnomah County

File: ‘For Rent’ sign in Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A report released by the Multnomah County Auditor showed the majority of the money received to help in COVID-19 recovery was directed toward housing and rent costs in the county.

County auditor Jennifer McGuirk issued her report on pandemic-related spending from July 2020 to the end of June this year. Mcguirk said the county is fulfilling its promise to provide Cares Act money to its BIPOC community, meeting their spending benchmarks.

The county said in one instance, it used money to contract a vendor who was under a federal contract ban for false medical billing claims. The county terminated service with them after finding out.

More than $66 million COVID relief money went toward paying for housing and rent costs for people in the county. This was the largest expense.

Additionally, the county issued five recommendations, including:

  • All county staff that handle procurement card transactions receives enhanced p-card training by December 31, 2021.
  • The Chief Financial Officer’s office develop a procedure to identify improper use of p-card transactions.
  • The County Chair and Government Relations should communicate with Oregon’s state legislature and federal delegation through 2022 about rent assistance requirements that created barriers for people, particularly the BIPOC community.
  • Health Department employees’ roles should be evaluated by the end of 2021 to ensure the job expectations and workload is appropriate.
  • By the end of the year the Health Department’s detective controls should be enhanced so vendor payments are performed accurately.

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