On Tuesday, MaineHousing released its accounts payable payment register for the years 1998-2010 and its cash disbursements by wire transfers for the period 1999-2010 in response to a Freedom of Access Act request.
The release is the last of a number of data releases to the Maine Heritage Policy Center. Previously, MaineHousing has released employee salary and benefit information and disbursements made for fuel assistance and rental subsidies. In December, MaineHousing provided a list of its vendors with their addresses. The Accounts Payable Payment Register required additional work. It took 30 employees to edit and review the data to ensure the removal of clients’ protected personal information, as required by law. Employees worked nights and weekends to get the job done in a timely manner.
MaineHousing has posted the accounts payable transactions and cash disbursements on its website.
MaineHousing is a $1.6 billion financial institution that serves approximately 90,000 people annually with first-time homebuyer mortgages, low income home energy assistance, Section 8 rental assistance, programs for people who are homeless, home weatherization and repairs, development of affordable apartment buildings with housing tax credits, and other programs to address Maine’s housing needs.
The housing authority is a quasi-independent agency governed by a 10-member Board of Commissioners and overseen by the Legislature. MaineHousing’s $13 million operations budget is funded with the difference between the interest it receives on its mortgages and the interest it pays to investors as well as with federal grants. MaineHousing’s operations are not funded with state taxpayers’ dollars.
MaineHousing’s financial transactions are related to achieving its mission and are typical for a financial institution that operates in bond markets, mortgage lending, housing development and construction, asset management, fuel assistance, and similar sectors.
The transactions include transfers to partners that deliver MaineHousing programs to consumers; costs associated with selling bonds for financing single family mortgages and development projects; loan closings and fund transfers for affordable housing development projects; investments in information management systems to modernize MaineHousing operations and improve program delivery; and routine business operations.
In addition to the complete list of transactions, MaineHousing has posted the 50 largest vendors from the Accounts Payable Payment Register per year for 2005-2010 on its website along with a list of results generated by these expenditures.
MaineHousing also has posted a list of smaller vendors that were questioned by Maine Heritage in January. That was based on the vendor names without any supporting documentation and used to imply possible improprieties by MaineHousing. Many of them pre-date the term of current MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick.
Like many businesses and governmental entities, MaineHousing has an employee benefit package that includes education and training opportunities, health and dental insurance plans, retirement programs, and wellness activities. MaineHousing encourages its employees to adopt healthy lifestyles to proactively reduce healthcare expenses. MaineHousing’s health insurance premiums have not increased three of the last seven years.
The MHPC also criticized the authority for its travel expenses and wellness activities. MaineHousing employees attend conferences and trainings in locations selected by the sponsors. In some cases, federal contracts require attendance. MaineHousing follows travel expense guidelines for travel and all travel must be approved by senior management.
Each year, MaineHousing provides its employees an “all staff day,” which encompasses professional and personal development programs and team-building activities. Some of the personal development programs have included presentations on stretching to reduce fatigue from computer use, general fitness, personal protection, and cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.
Between 2005 and 2010, MaineHousing issued nearly $740 million in mortgages to more than 6,000 first-time homebuyers in Maine, provided approximately $61 million in weatherization and home repair funds to assist more than 10,000 vulnerable Maine low-income and elderly households saving about 1.7 million gallons of oil, assisted the creation of nearly 2,500 new affordable rental units in Maine putting nearly $300 million into the construction sector.
In addition, MaineHousing issued on average approximately $19 million in rental assistance to landlords on behalf of 3,400 low-income households each year through the Housing Choice Voucher program, distributed more than $225 million in heating assistance (LIHEAP) through fuel dealers to an average of 52,000 Maine households, and provided funding to support homeless shelters in Maine that served an average of 7,400 Mainers who are homeless each year.
MaineHousing manages a portfolio of approximately 18,000 subsidized or rent-restricted apartments in Maine that provide safe affordable housing to low-income Mainers.
On average, MaineHousing programs create or support 2,942 full-time equivalent jobs annually.
The mission of MaineHousing is to assist Maine people to obtain and maintain decent, safe, affordable housing and services suitable to their unique housing needs. Please visit our Web site at www.mainehousing.org.
MaineHousing does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, or familial status in the admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, and activities. MaineHousing will provide appropriate communication auxiliary aids and services upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing will also provide this document in alternative formats upon sufficient notice. MaineHousing has designated the following person responsible for coordinating compliance with applicable federal and state nondiscrimination requirements and addressing grievances: Louise Patenaude, MaineHousing, 353 Water Street, Augusta, Maine 04330-4633, Telephone Number 1‑800‑452‑4668 (voice in state only),(207) 626‑4600 (voice), 1‑800‑452‑4603 (TTY in state only), or (207) 623‑2985 (TTY).