Dome Village's Plan OKd

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Dome Village homeless shelter in downtown Los Angeles has resolved record-keeping problems that threatened future federal funding for the unique encampment, according to a Los Angeles County agency that monitors homeless shelters.

A audit six months ago by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found that the Dome Village had failed to show that tenants were actually homeless before moving in and noted that some residents violated funding rules by staying longer than two years.

But the authority released a follow-up report Wednesday, confirming that Dome Village officials submitted a plan in April to fix those and other problems.

"We have reviewed the plan and are satisfied with the actions taken and the procedures instituted," authority Executive Director Mitchell Netburn said in a recent letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is providing $700,000 for the Dome Village over the next three years.

In the letter, Netburn said his agency inspected the village last month and plans another visit in six months.

The collection of 20 white domes, visible from the Harbor Freeway near 8th Street and Staples Center, is a transitional housing facility that is home to up to 24 residents, including children. Its structures were designed to be a model of affordable shelter compared to more traditional housing. The compound includes showers, toilets, a laundry room, a kitchen and a "cyberdome," where residents can learn computer skills.

Katherine Haber, the Dome Village's executive director, said she is glad the 8-year-old experimental encampment of white fiberglass domes was out of the shadow of criticism.

"It was a cloud that I think was unnecessary," she said, adding that most of the problems raised by the audit had to do with keeping proper documentation.

The original audit by the homeless authority--which was completed in December but was released to The Times in April--also chided administrators for failing to document what vocational training residents received and where they lived after they left the village.

In the audit report, the homeless agency threatened to cut off federal funding if Dome Village administrators refused to address the problems.

Village founder Ted Hayes said the concerns raised by the audit were not serious. He said he worries that additional paperwork that Dome Village must now submit will take time away from helping the homeless. "The bureaucracy tends to look for more bureaucratic material to create instead of results," he said. "We have to get away from that."

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