Group Criticizes HUD’s Stance on Over-Income Tenants

The Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, a group representing housing authorities across the country, recently sent a letter to HUD Secretary Julian Castro and members of Congress stating that a report highlighting “over-income” tenants that triggered a change in policy was deeply flawed.

A recent audit by the Office of Inspector General had found that more than 25,000 families received government assistance despite exceeding income thresholds. It found that of the 25,226 families, 68 percent, or 17,761, receiving public housing assistance had earned more than the qualifying amount for more than a year. Of that number, 13,388 (53 percent) had income that was up to $10,000 greater than HUD’s 2014 income limits, and 11,838 (47 percent) had income that was more than $10,000 greater than the income limits. In response to the audit, HUD flipped its stance and now is taking additional steps to encourage housing authorities to establish policies that will reduce the number of over-income families in public housing.

According to the letter, “To reverse course on the basis of a deeply flawed Inspector General report, a few sensationalized and exaggerated media accounts, and ill-informed commentary from some pundits would be a major policy mistake.” The letter also pointed out that “If these families are forced to move out, the likely scenario is that extremely low-income persons will now occupy the units, which means less dwelling rental income and the need for more subsidies based on the current funding formula.”