The House approved legislation on Tuesday to reform federal housing programs for low and middle income families.
The measure, which includes multiple provisions to limit housing assistance to people considered to need assistance the most, passed easily by a vote of 427-0.
Under the legislation authored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), public housing agencies would be required to conduct annual reviews of tenants’ incomes. Any tenants found to have income that’s more than 120 percent of the area median income for two consecutive years would have to be charged more rent or move out.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said the provisions would "ensure that the resources that are devoted to these housing programs are targeted to those who are most in need."
Passage of the measure came as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Tuesday that it is considering evicting thousands of public housing residents who now earn too much money to qualify for assistance.
A July 2015 inspector general report found that as many as 25,226 families were living in public housing even though they over-qualified for assistance.
Current law allows over-income families to continue living in public housing as long as they met the income requirements upon moving in.
The measure includes language authored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, that expands public housing agencies’ ability to use vouchers for creating units designated to serve populations such as the homeless, veterans and people with disabilities.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation would save the government $311 million over five years.
- Tim Devaney contributed.