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Overincome Families Abuse Public-Housing System

Digested from “Feds Gave Low-Income Housing to Millionaires”
The Washington Free Beacon (7/27/15) Harrington, Elizabeth

More than 25,000 of approximately 1.1 million families receiving public housing assistance exceeded 2014 eligible income limits, according to an audit by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) public housing program in 2014. The families met the requirements upon admittance. However,  families can stay in public housing for an unlimited amount of time, and there was no policy requiring their removal based solely on income, so they were allowed to remain.   

The auditors estimate that “HUD will pay $104.4 million over the next year for public housing units occupied by overincome families that otherwise could have been used to house low-income families.” Of the families in question, nearly 12,000 earned income more than $10,000 over the limit. The report cites four egregious cases, in which the families in question had qualified upon entrance (one as far back as 1974) but in the time since had secured income at least double the current limit, not including additional assets.   

The 15 public-housing authorities audited had 579,590 families waiting to receive public-housing assistance. A 2014 notice requiring a flat-rent policy of no less than 80 percent of fair market value and recertification of residents could “reduce the number of overincome families residing in public housing over time” but would likely have no immediate effect. 

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