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HUD Secretary Troubled By CHA Hoarding Millions

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Obama administration expressed concerns Wednesday about the millions of dollars in funds the Chicago Housing Authority has been hoarding in a great time of need, but said it appears problems are on their way to being solved.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro said he was troubled by reports the CHA has stashed away $440 million in cash reserves, at a time when more than a quarter million people are on the agency's waiting list for affordable housing.

A report by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability last year found the CHA issued -- on average -- 13,534 fewer housing vouchers than HUD paid for each year between 2008 and 2012.

Castro said he's happy the CHA has a plan for investing much of those reserve funds.

"I'm pleased that CHA has come up with a plan to address that, and we'll look forward to working with CHA so that they can invest those reserves reasonably, and make sure that there's more opportunity for families to get good quality housing," he said. "It was a concern, and it is a continuing concern, and I'm glad in my conversations from with the mayor that it is being addressed."


He sidestepped when asked how the problem had gotten so big.

"I'm focused on the future, and making sure that there are wise investments in greater housing opportunity. I believe that this is a priority of Mayor Emanuel's, and the new leadership at the housing authority," he said.

The secretary was in Chicago to announce national rules to make it easier for communities which receive HUD funding to meet their fair housing obligations.

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