Housing authority upgrades inspection of Section 8 units

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The Allegheny County Housing Authority's director said Friday that his agency is upgrading inspections of properties rented using Section 8 vouchers, in response to a September audit.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General told the authority to pay back $15,070 in federal funds and to upgrade inspections and training. That's because auditors early last year inspected 70 county Section 8 units, and found that 57 did not meet quality standards.

"We paid HUD back with non-federal funds," said authority executive director Frank Aggazio. He said that inspectors have begun testing ground fault interrupter outlets in Section 8 units, supervisors are accompanying inspectors on house checks, and new training starts early next year.

He said many of the violations were "judgment calls."

"Nobody was ever in danger because of any of the items [HUD inspectors] found," he added.

The audit report said that it was spurred by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story from October 2011, in which a Duquesne resident with a county Section 8 voucher complained of problems with her rental house, including a collapsing awning, trash-filled garage, defective electrical system and plumbing problems. The authority inspects Section 8 units annually.

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