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Local News in Brief : Grand Jury Calls CRA Reports Misleading

The Los Angeles County Grand Jury has found that the Community Redevelopment Agency, under fire in recent months for its handling of housing programs for the poor, has repeatedly produced misleading and inaccurate data when reporting its affordable housing record to city and state officials.

A report by the grand jury said that the agency has complied with state laws by spending 20% of its funds on low-cost housing. But the panel confirmed criticism by the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation that the agency has distorted its performance and used sloppy record-keeping in keeping elected officials apprised of efforts to construct badly needed low-cost rental housing.

The CRA’s practice of dubbing renovated Skid Row hotel rooms, adult housing and one-room studios as “family housing,” while technically legal, caused a flap last year when Legal Aid lawyers and several council members complained that the agency’s use of such figures had distorted the true number of family units being built in Los Angeles.

The grand jury urged the City Council to set up an independent body to review any exemptions that the CRA seeks.

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