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ACC suspends eviction program after nonprofit comes up $38,000 short

ACC Government

Athens tenants’ housing security is at stake after an eviction prevention program fails to document their finances.

The ACC Housing and Community Development Department halted the program on Oct. 24 after Athenian First Development Corp., an affordable housing consulting nonprofit, failed to provide documentation for more than $100,000 in expenditures, according to a message from ACC Manager Blaine Williams to the Mayor and Commission. The discrepancy was originally reported in Flagpole.

In a statement sent to Flagpole, Andrew Saunders, interim director of the Housing and Community Development Department, says that the missing $37,895 “was not in the account we were expecting it to be in.”

In addition to the missing money, ACC officials are reviewing $55,462 in direct expenses (on tenants and landlords’ behalf) and $66,834 in administrative costs.

The nonprofit’s funding comes from the ACC Mayor and Commission, who voted to create the eviction prevention program in May 2021 and approved a $2.4 million contract in late 2021 through the federal CARES Act. The Act supplements AFDC with monthly prepayments so long as AFDC submits expenditure documentation to ACC officials. According to Williams’ memo, the AFDC’s documentation issues stem back to June.

However, concerns about AFDC’s funding date back much longer. In Sept. 2021, ACC staff and some commissioners expressed concern about AFDC’s lack of experience, their initial funding request of $3.8 million, and skepticism that the organization could begin providing services on Oct. 1. District 4’s Allison Wright opposed AFDC’s funding because she hoped that more organizations would offer to support the eviction program.

For now, tenants in danger of eviction are being referred to two other nonprofits, the Ark and Family Promise until AFDC either comes back into compliance or loses their contract.