Legislative auditor finds state poverty aid review gaps

Published 10:11 am Friday, December 18, 2015

ST. PAUL— Minnesota’s legislative auditor has identified weaknesses in how several state agencies monitored poverty assistance routed through two dozen nonprofit organizations.

A report released Friday urged five departments to plug holes in oversight. The report by Legislative Auditor James Nobles didn’t identify misspending by 26 community action agencies similar to the lapses that led to the abrupt closure and criminal charges at Community Action of Minneapolis.

But the review found failures by state agencies to do legally required monitoring visits of big grant recipients. The community action groups depend on state grants to help low-income households by distributing heating aid, child care assistance and much more. The audit reviewed three years and $235 million worth of grants.

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State agency leaders responded to the audit with plans to close oversight gaps.