A New York City family living in taxpayer-subsidized government housing makes $497,911 a year — but HUD wants them to stay. The NYC family reportedly pays $1,574 a month to live in a three bedroom apartment approved under public housing regulations. HUD subsidizes apartment complexes, duplexes, and single-family homes.
The New York family making big bucks and living in public housing is not the only potential case of taxpayer abuse discovered by a Department of Housing and Urban Development watchdog group. A Los Angeles family of five that earned $202,784 last year has lived in subsidized government housing since 1974. In Nebraska, a public housing tenant with over $1.6 million in assets paid only $300 last year for a one-bedroom apartment in the city of Oxford, according to a new report by the HUD watchdogs.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development watchdog group detailed describes more than 25,000 “over-income” families living in taxpayer-subsidized housing in the United States. The NYC family living in government housing reportedly earned $790,500 in rental income on their real estate holdings for multiple years while living in the low-cost housing complex. While those allegedly abusing the system by not declaring their income exceeded the maximum amount allowed to qualify for residency, more than 300,000 poor families were placed on a housing waitlist.
Even though HUD officials have been informed about the tenants receiving subsidized housing, the federal agency reportedly has no plans to kick them out. The Department of Housing and Urban Development policy does not mandate that over-income residents have to leave — the agency actually encourages them to say, according to the inspector general for HUD. The housing agency is required to only consider a tenant’s income when applying for housing, not once they have already entered the taxpayer-subsidized system.
“Since regulations and policies did not require housing authorities to evict over income families or require them to find housing in the unassisted market, [they] continued to reside in public housing units,” HUD Inspector General David Montoya said.
The government housing review was conducted in both 2014 and 2015 at the request of Republican Representative Phil Roe of Tennessee. The investigation reportedly found that 45 percent of the 25,226 tenants in public housing complexes had incomes higher than the amount allowed to enter into the government subsidized system. The 45 percent made $10,000 to $70,000 a year more per year than allowed, the report indicates. Approximately 1,200 of the tenants had exceeded the income maximum for at least nine years, 18,000 of the residents had earned more than the system permitted for at least one year.
HUD income limits are established at a rate of 80 percent of the local median income to qualify for low-income status, and at 50 percent of the area median income in order to be included on the very low-income limit list. The highest percentage of over-income families living in subsidized housing were reportedly found in Texas, Puerto Rico, and New York. The lowest instances of over-income tenants in taxpayer-subsidized housing were found in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho.
“Although 25,226 over income families is a small percentage of the approximate 1.1 million families receiving public housing assistance, we did not find that HUD and public housing authorities had taken or planned to take sufficient steps to reduce at least the egregious examples of over income families in public housing,” the audit by the inspector general said. “Therefore, it is reasonable to expect the number of over income families participating in the program to increase over time.”
Approximately 1.1 million American families currently live in public housing complexes. the watchdog group stated that the taxpayers will fork over more than $1.4 million to subsidize the housing of over-income families living in government housing projects over the course of the next year. HUD officials claim that the inspector general is “overemphasizing” the problem.
[Image via Shutterstock]