Yesterday in the Federal Register, HUD published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning “over-income” public housing residents. HUD refers to resident families whose income exceeds current program limits for applicants as over-income families.
The new notice follows a letter to executive directors published last month in response to the July 2015 publication of an internal audit report by HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). In the report, OIG recommended that HUD direct PHAs to establish policies to minimize the number of over-income families in public housing, and put their funding to better use by providing those funds to eligible low-income families in need. Termination of tenancy for over-income families has been optional for PHAs since 2004.
In a press release dated February 2, HUD explained that it is soliciting comments on twelve specific issues:
- 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 are due by March 4. HUD strongly encourages interested parties to submit their comments electronically.
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