Sneak Preview: HUD OIG Calls for Policies for Overincome Families

September 11, 2015 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommended in a recent audit that HUD require public housing authorities to establish policies to reduce the number of families in public housing whose income exceeds eligible limits (i.e., “overincome families”). Creating such policies would make public housing available to more eligible low-income families, the OIG added.

However, HUD officials balked at this recommendation, noting that overincome families often are “model tenants,” and contended that there were “social benefits from having families with varying income levels residing in the same property.”

Public housing authorities use income limits as one of the factors to determine whether a family is eligible for public housing. Under HUD regulations, the low-income limit is 80 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area in which the household resides. Once a family is accepted into the public housing program, it may stay in the program as long as it complies with leasing requirements.

OIG estimated that public housing authorities in 2014 provided housing assistance to about 25,200 families nationwide whose annual income exceeded the local eligibility limit. Of those, 47 percent had incomes that were more than $10,000 greater than the local eligibility limit. In one extreme example, OIG found that a five-person family that had lived in public housing for about 40 years in Los Angeles, Calif., had an annual household income since 2011 of about $205,000, while the public housing authority’s low-income threshold is about $70,000. The authority told OIG that it did not evict the family because its policy did not require it to do so, and because HUD regulations do not require it.

The OIG found that 15 public housing authorities it sampled provided housing to about 12,500 overincome families, yet the housing authorities had almost 580,000 income eligible families on their waiting lists.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site).

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