City program to help homeowners under fire

(John R. Coughlin/CNNMoney.com)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A state-funded program commonly known as SHIP is under fire after a city audit into how millions of dollars have been spent on helping people repair homes, buy new ones and avoid foreclosures.

The audit of the State Housing Initiative Partnership, which was for the 2009 to 2012 fiscal years, found a number of problems, including a lack of bookkeeping, missing paperwork and conflicts of interest.

During the housing crisis from 2009 to 2012, nearly $10 million were used to fix up low-income homes in Duval County. The money also went toward helping people with down payments on new homes and to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

But the city audit found some nonprofit groups that were selected to oversee the programs to repair homes were run by people who also owned construction companies that benefited directly from the jobs.

It's unclear how much money is unaccounted for.

News4Jax contacted the city for comment, but we have not heard back.

Mayor Lenny Curry's office is reviewing the audit, but the period of time in question happened under the John Peyton and Alvin Brown administrations.  

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