Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tent City Operators Vindicated in Federal Audit

Sometimes things get buried in the paper and people don't see the conclusion to a story. Some time ago, tent city opponents filed a complaint against SHARE/WHEEL for its use of FEMA money to operate its tent cities. The money was withheld and a federal audit ensued. End of story? You'd think so. News of the complaint and audit were published in the King County Journal, but no follow up to the story ever took place.

Early this month the local FEMA board - of which I'm a member - was notified that the audit was complete and everything was in order. I requested a press release so people would know that SHARE/WHEEL had been cleared and the money was released. The story finally hit the King County Journal today. Here's a full quotation:

The nonprofit organization that runs roving tent cities for the homeless -- including Tent City 4 now in Woodinville -- has passed an audit and received its money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

SHARE/WHEEL has received nearly $40,000 in emergency shelter and homeless prevention grant money, funneled from FEMA through the National Emergency Food & Shelter Program, said Angelynn Talcott, spokeswoman for the YWCA of Seattle-King County-Snohomish County.

The YWCA administers FEMA funds for its own shelter programs and for several smaller agencies, including SHARE, on behalf of United Way of King County.

Although half of the $37,224 grant had been released when SHARE provided records for the audit in June, the Food & Shelter Board held the second half until that documentation passed review.

It released the money Aug. 5 and the YWCA passed it to SHARE on Aug. 9, Talcott said.

Tent city opponents had raised questions about the propriety of SHARE using federal emergency money during a routine audit of the agency.

As a result, Talcott said, ``special attention was given to ensure all documentation was in order and expenses met the EFSP guidelines.''

Auditors examined records for two years and found them in order, she said.


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