Aspen housing office steps up effort to reduce fraud
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Applicants for Aspen’s worker housing will soon face stiffer requirements as the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority steps up its efforts to detect abuses of the system.
Starting Aug. 1, the housing authority will take several new steps to “detect possible fraud and better protect the integrity of the employee housing program,” it announced Monday.
The new requirements are aimed at workers who submit financial information that is required in order to qualify to buy or rent subsidized housing within the government-run program.
As of next month:
– Applicants will be required to submit copies of bank statements, mortgage statements, tax bills, appraisals, stock documents, etc. to prove actual value of assets.
– All applicants for sale units, and compliance cases, if applicable, will be processed through the Choice Point/Auto Track program.
– Applicants will be required to sign a 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return form as part of the documentation they are required to supply annually to the housing office if they are seeking housing through the program.
“The biggest change in this new policy is the requirement to provide documentation regarding household assets,” said Qualifications Specialist Julie Kieffer in a press release. “In the past, we would ask people to list their assets. Now you have to provide documentation.”
In addition, all households will be processed through the new Choice Point/Auto Track program ” an online tool containing billions of current and historical records aimed at uncovering potentially fraudulent participants in the program.
“Choice Point will uncover financial information that might not be disclosed by the applicant’s documentation,” Kieffer said.
The Request for Transcript of Tax Return form will be used as an audit tool to verify that the tax returns the Housing Office receives match the tax returns filed with the IRS.
“This is certainly more work for the housing office and more work for the applicants, but the end goal is to make it easier to detect fraud in the system” said Housing Director Tom McCabe in the press release. “I believe these changes will make a positive difference in the program.”
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