On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was ending a program that provided grants to rural development organizations to build homes and businesses.
The move follows a series of audits conducted by the USDA’s Rural Development Audit and Reporting System (RDAS) and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Development and Housing (ODRDH) in 2016 and 2017.
According to the USDA, “the program was unable to meet the standards for ensuring the quality of the grant and contract.”
The agency says that in the case of the 2017 audit, $2.3 million in federal grants and contract awards were not reviewed or reviewed in a timely manner, resulting in an additional $4.7 million in unspent grants.
The USDA says that the $2 million was the result of a number of issues, including the lack of a single data collection method.
The agency also found that the RDAS did not adequately analyze and manage the grant money, resulting to $5.2 million in undeliverable funds.
“The USDA is committed to improving the RDAs data collection and management processes,” the agency said in a statement.
“It is disappointing that the USDA was unable or unwilling to fully evaluate and evaluate the RD program’s effectiveness.”
The RDAS has been under criticism for the lack on how it has handled audits of grants awarded to rural organizations.
The RDAs grant review process requires that organizations receiving federal money provide detailed reports about how they conduct their activities and how they use the money.
In response to the new audit, the USDA says it will conduct more of its audits.
The announcement came a week after the USDA awarded more than $3 million to rural and coastal communities in Virginia.
The money will help fund the development of more than 50,000 rental homes.
In a statement, the Rural Development Advisory Committee (RDAC), a partnership between RDAS and the USDA Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), said that the award of the grants was a “positive step forward in building a better future for rural communities and their families.”
The committee also said that it would work with RDAS to implement a system for tracking and analyzing the RD grant award process.