Politics

Thousands Living In Public Housing While Making Incomes Above Eligibility Requirement, Government Audit Finds

| by Jared Keever

A recent audit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that the agency is providing low-income housing to families making incomes too high to qualify.

More than 25,000 families were found to be living in the rent-subsidized properties while making incomes above the maximum limit, WSB News reports. Meanwhile, more than half a million families remain on waiting lists looking for a place to stay. 

A Massachusetts family was found living in public housing, paying only $525 a month in rent, while making more than $212,000 a year. 

Similarly, an individual in Nebraska, with assets totaling over $1.6 million, was paying only $300 a month in rent while staying in HUD housing. 

The audit report, prepared by the Office of Inspector General, estimated such families will cost the federal government $104.4 million this year, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

But, it seems, these families have not violated any laws or housing guidelines.

They were allowed to move in, and stay, “because HUD regulations require families to meet eligibility income limits only when they are admitted to the public housing program,” the report noted, according to The Free Beacon. 

“The regulations do not limit the length of time that families may reside in public housing.” the report continued. 

Of the 25,226 families found to be making more than the maximum eligibility requirement, 47 percent earned at least $10,000 more than the income limit. And 70 percent had lived in the subsidized housing for more than a year. 

“Unfortunately, there are people that game the system,” Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida was quoted as saying by WSB. 

Mica is chair of the House committee that oversees HUD.

In a response to the audit, HUD said those who were once eligible, but have remained in the housing once their situations improved, are “model tenants” and act as role models for other families. 

The department’s response also noted that asking such families to leave could put their jobs in jeopardy driving them, once again, below the poverty line, WSB reports. 

Sources: WSB News, The Washington Free Beacon / Photo credit: Tim Evanson/Flickr