Better policing of housing

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, August 25, 2015

America’s public housing must be pretty nice. A blistering U.S. inspector general’s report found more than 25,000 “over-income” families who once had qualified for public housing, but stayed on even after greatly improving their circumstances.

Astonishingly, they weren’t shown the door to make room for 25,000 truly needy families on far-longer waiting lists.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development didn’t see the problem until the report was publicized. And even then, it was defensive at first …

Only a government agency could set up an entitlement program and not establish rules or push for laws to cut off benefits once people no longer qualify. And that’s the problem: Income is checked only when a family applies for public housing. So long as they are good tenants, they’ve been able to stay on …

Certainly it is possible to craft policies that wouldn’t evict a single mother who barely crosses the income threshold or that would let people stay until they are solidly back on their feet, without accommodating tenants who could afford a McMansion.

Even the IG’s report said it didn’t expect HUD and housing authorities to eliminate all over-income families from public housing. “However,” it said, “creating limits to avoid egregious cases seems reasonable.”

 

The Columbus Dispatch