Lax oversight at the Joint Office of Homeless Services allowed the contractor who operates three safe rest villages for the homeless to charge the city-county partnership $525,000 in unauthorized expenses, according to a report by the Multnomah County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk.
All Good Northwest overcharged the county more than $330,000, mostly in payroll costs, by duplicating payroll expenses for the same pay period on separate invoices, the auditor said.
The Joint Office wrongly approved an additional $193,675 in indirect expenses, the auditor said. Indirect expenses include overhead expenses that do not support a particular program, such as accounting or HR.
The Auditor’s Office began its investigation after receiving a tip on its Good Government Hotline. All funds have been recovered as a result of this alert, the auditor said.
The report is particularly damning, the auditor said, because Multnomah County helped set up All Good Northwest last year, and the Joint Office was its only source of funding.
“All Good Northwest was basically a county-funded startup,” the listener said. “It did not exist as an operational organization until the Joint Office contracted with it to run alternative shelter programs. Because of this, it had no established funding or cash flow to support operations. It appears that All Good Northwest’s overbilling mistakes are due, at least in part, to cash flow issues within the organization due to its 100% reliance on county funding. »
All Good Northwest operates BIPOC Village on Northeast Weidler Street, Queer Affinity Village on Southwest Naito Parkway near Portland International School, and Multnomah Safe Rest Village on Southwest Multnomah Boulevard. He also manages the Market Street Shelter. (WW reported this summer that All Good Northwest had abruptly closed its rest village in Old Town, citing gunfire and other violence in surrounding streets.)
“I want to make it clear that no taxpayer dollars have been lost,” Joint Office Director Shannon Singleton said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Office of the Auditor for alerting us. We’re trying new things to end homelessness, and we’re going fast, sometimes we’re going to go too fast. And that’s exactly what happened here.
Andy Goebel, executive director of All Good Northwest, did not immediately respond to phone messages.
According to the auditor, All Good Northwest explained that the double billing occurred because All Good billed the county based on an estimate of personnel costs so that All Good could include the costs on an invoice and the submit on time to pay employees. He failed to remove these estimated costs from the next invoice, after the salary costs were actually accounted for, the auditor said.
All Good was in trouble, according to the listener. Two directors have made personal loans to the organization.
“While there is no prohibition on a director making a loan, this should have raised concerns within the Joint Office about the financial viability of the organization and, by extension, the ability of the organization to continue to provide services on behalf of the county,” the auditor said. said.
The Joint Office told All Good it could charge the county for indirect expenses, the auditor said. But since 100% of All Good’s expenses, including administrative costs, were paid directly by the county, no additional indirect expenses existed. Indirect cost charging was therefore inadmissible, the auditor said.
“A more detailed invoice review process would have identified that All Good Northwest billed 100% of its expenses to the county and that indirect expenses were not applicable,” the auditor said. “After advising Joint Office management that they had wrongly approved payment for indirect expenses, the Joint Office stopped payment and worked with All Good Northwest to have a corrected invoice processed.”