original article: Feds Gave Low-Income Housing to Millionaires
July 27, 2015 by Elizabeth Harrington
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave low-income housing to millionaires, according to a recent audit.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found over 25,000 families who earned too much to qualify for subsidized apartments, which will cost taxpayers $104.4 million this year.
“Public housing authorities provided public housing assistance to as many as 25,226 families whose annual household income exceeded HUD’s 2014 program eligibility income limits,” according to the audit. “Most of these families had earned more than the qualifying amount for more than 1 year, were not participating in programs that would allow them to reside in public housing, and occupied units while many families were waiting for public housing assistance.”
“This condition occurred because HUD regulations require families to meet eligibility income limits only when they are admitted to the public housing program,” it said. “The regulations do not limit the length of time that families may reside in public housing.”
Of the 25,226 overincome families identified, 47 percent earned at least $10,000 more than the income limit, and 70 percent lived in subsidized housing for more than a year.
A millionaire in Oxford, Neb., has been able live in low-income housing since 2010. The monthly rent is $300.
“As of April 2014, the single-member household’s annual income was $65,007, while the low-income threshold was $33,500,” the OIG explained. “Also, this tenant had total assets valued at nearly $1.6 million, which included stock valued at $623,685, real estate valued at $470,600, a checking account with a balance of $334,637, and an individual retirement account with a balance of $123,445.”
HUD did not evict the millionaire because “the tenant was income eligible at admission and has not violated the lease agreement.”
The OIG identified a sample of 25 overincome families who either had more than $1 million in assets, or had income that was significantly greater than the income limits.
Another ineligible family paid only $1,091 a month to live in Los Angeles, even though their annual income was $204,784.
A family in New York City was also able to stay in housing that limited income at $67,100, event though they earned $497,911 annually, plus $790,534 in rental income between 2009 and 2013.
Many housing authorities cited by the OIG said they do not evict wealthy individuals and families from low-income housing because “its policy does not require it to terminate the tenancy or evict families solely because they are overincome.”
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