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HUD considers rule on 'over income' public housing

WASHINGTON – Feb. 3, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a new rule to ensure that individuals and families residing in public housing actually need housing assistance.
In some cases, a public housing resident’s income has grown well beyond the levels required for their initial admission, but HUD has focused mainly on qualifications to get into public housing – not qualifications to remain in public housing.
HUD is now seeking public comment on methods to address ‘over-income’ public housing residents who continue to reside in public housing as other families wait for vacant units to become available.
According to HUD, about 1.1 million families currently reside in public housing across the U.S. To qualify, local Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) certify that applicants’ incomes are sufficiently low for admission. In addition, HUD requires PHAs to conduct annual reviews of their residents’ incomes for purposes of calculating the proper level of subsidy for each household.
However, current law and regulation do not require eviction or termination of residency when a household’s income increases significantly and consistently over time, even if that family pays full market rent and receives no subsidy at all. Given the urgent need for affordable rental housing in many communities, HUD is considering ways to possibly limit public housing residency to those households that actually require housing assistance.
Last year, HUD issued a report that identified approximately 25,000 public housing families with incomes slightly, moderately or, in rare cases, substantially above the income limits that qualified them for initial admission. In a letter to PHAs on Sept. 3, 2015, HUD strongly recommended that local PHAs adopt reasonable policies that clearly define ‘over income,’ provide a safety net for fluctuating incomes, and offer protections for hardship cases.
In anticipation of proposed rulemaking, HUD specifically solicits comment on the following:
How should HUD define income that “significantly” exceeds the income limit for public housing residency? Should such higher amount be determined by dollar amount, by a percentage, or as a function of the current income limit, and what should the amount be?
Should area cost of living and family finances be taken into consideration when determining whether an individual or family no longer needs public housing assistance?
Are there limits to the circumstances in which said data should be requested and applied in a determination?
What period of time in which an individual or family has had income that significantly exceeds the income limits should be determined as indicative that the individual or family no longer needs public housing assistance?
How should local housing market conditions or housing authority wait list data be considered?
What period of time should be allowed for an individual or family to find alternative housing?
Are there exceptions to eviction or termination of tenancy that HUD should consider beyond those listed in HUD’s regulation?
Should HUD allow over-income individuals or families to remain in public housing, while paying unsubsidized or fair market rent? How would such a provision impact PHA operations and finances?
Should HUD require a local appeals process for individuals or families deemed over- income?
Where over-income policies have been implemented, what were the results to public housing residents and PHAs? What were the specific positive and negative impacts?
What financial impact would over-income policies have on PHA operations, and how can any negative impacts be mitigated?
What are the potential costs and benefits to public housing residents and PHAs that could result from the forcible eviction of public housing tenants?
What evidence currently exists in favor of or against the adoption of this type of policy?
Comments may be submitted by mail to:
Regulations Division
Office of General Counsel
Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street SW, Room 10276
Washington, DC 20410-0500
Due to security measures, however, HUD recommends that comments submitted by mail be submitted at least two weeks in advance. HUD also “strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically.”
Comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
© 2016 Florida Realtors®
 
Source: Florida Realtors Feed

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