- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Department of Housing and Urban development announced Tuesday that it would consider evicting tens of thousands of public housing residents who earn too much money to qualify for public housing.

The announcement comes in response to a July audit from the department’s Office of Inspector General that revealed over 25,000 families had an income that exceeded the maximum level to qualify for government-assisted housing. At least one tenant had roughly nearly $1 million in assets.

Now the department will reexamine tenant’s public housing needs in an effort to root out “over-income” tenants occupying low-income housing that is desperately needed by poorer families.

“Some of those families significantly exceeded the income limits,” HUD wrote in the Federal Register, warning that “scarce public resources must be provided to those most in need of affordable housing.”

Currently, federal law does not prohibit over-income families from continuing to live in low-income housing as long as they met the income requirements when they moved in.

Now HUD is grappling with whether to evict over-income tenants and how long to give them to find new homes.

“An increase in income is a good and welcomed event for families, and when a family’s income steadily rises, it may be an indication that the family is on its way to self-sufficiency,” HUD wrote.

“Any changes that would require the termination of tenancy for over-income families should be enacted with caution so as not to impede a family’s progress,” the agency continued.

The department will seek comment from the public on what to do about over-income families over the next 30 days.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday on an Amendment proposed by Rep. Vern Buchanan, Florida Republican, to tighten income asset verification requirements for public housing applicants.

“It is outrageous that taxpayers are footing the bill for millionaires’ housing,” Mr. Buchanan said in a statement. “This type of abuse hurts truly needy families and erodes faith in government. Holding HUD to the same standards used for other federal benefits will provide much-needed oversight on taxpayer funds and help create consistency across the vast array of assistance programs.”

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