The Obama administration is considering evicting tens of thousands of public housing residents who earn too much money to qualify for government assistance.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Tuesday an effort to root out these “over-income” tenants who are living in government-assisted homes that could be used to help even poorer families.
“Some of those families significantly exceeded the income limits,” HUD wrote in the Federal Register, warning that “scarce public resources must be provided to those most in need of affordable housing."
Currently, federal law does not prohibit over-income families from continuing to live in government-assisted homes, as long as they met the income requirements when they moved in.
HUD released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking Tuesday seeking public comment on what to do with over-income tenants.
This stems from a July 2015 inspector’s general report that found as many as 25,226 over-income families are living in public housing facilities even though they are not eligible for government assistance.
Many of these families were eligible when they moved in, but as their incomes have grown they no longer need the housing benefits, the agency noted.
HUD is grappling with whether to evict the over-income tenants, and how long to give them to find new homes. The agency wants to make public housing units available to those families who are most in need, but it also urged caution against evicting tenants who enjoy a “minimal or temporary rise in income.”
“An increase in income is a good and welcomed event for families, and when a family’s income steadily rises, it may be an indication that the family is on its way to self-sufficiency,” HUD wrote.
“Any changes that would require the termination of tenancy for over-income families should be enacted with caution so as not to impede a family’s progress,” the agency continued.
The public has 30 days to comment.
This story was updated at 2:45 p.m.