NEW YORK (PIX11) — A New York City nonprofit that runs a shelter may have wasted more than 155,000 meals over a three-year period, a new audit by the state comptroller found.
The Institute for Community Living may have thrown out about $445,000 worth of food from mid-2016 to mid-2019, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said.
“New York City has a homelessness crisis and must demand more accountability from shelter providers, who are paid millions of dollars. Our audit found a shelter charged expenses to the city with little or no explanation and unconscionably and regularly threw mountains of food into the trash,” DiNapoli said “DHS needs to do a better job of ensuring the city’s homeless shelters are run properly.”
ICL President and CEO Jody Rudin, who joined the nonprofit a year ago, said ICL didn’t agree with all of the comptroller’s findings. ICL has had some documentation an oversight challenges, Rudin acknowledged.
“We have put in place management systems and processes to enhance oversight. Furthermore, we rolled out an automated document management system,” Rudin said. “We are now tracking food consumption across our shelters and calibrating the number of meals we purchase to meet the demand for meals. We have always followed the spirit of the law and the new systems we have created will better ensure we follow the letter of the law. Above all else, we strive to be good partners to our government funders and provide care and support to the thousands of clients who count on us.”
A spokesperson for the city Department of Social Services described ICL as an “experienced homeless services organization.” The spokesperson noted DSS-DHS would investigate DiNapoli’s findings.
“We have robust accountability and oversight mechanisms in place, which could include developing and implementing a corrective action plan, to prevent the recurrence of issues and find ways to build in efficiencies,” the spokesperson said. “We hold our network of not-for-profit provider-partners to a high standard while also recognizing the extraordinary work of dedicated frontline staff who work around the clock to serve and support New Yorkers in need.”