Byrne Introduces Bill to Cut Down on Public Housing Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 03, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) introduced legislation today that would ensure accountability in public housing by cracking down on the number of over-income families who live in taxpayer-subsidized public housing.

recent report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Inspector General found that 25,226 over-income families nationwide live in public housing. The report found 812 cases of over-income residents in Alabama, which ranks as the fourth highest in the United States. A local news report also exposed an individual living in public housing in Mobile who makes over $100,000 a year.

Byrne’s bill, known as the Public Housing Accountability Act (H.R. 4133), would require income verification upon application for public housing and then once every year to ensure that families are indeed low-income and eligible for such services. Families would also be required to undergo income verification if their income changes by “an amount that is estimated to result in an increase of 10 percent or more in annual adjusted income.”

If a person is found to be over-income, they will have 30 days to submit an appeal or vacate the dwelling. If an appeal is filed, it must be reviewed within 30 days. If a person is still found to be over-income, they must vacate within 30 days.

Byrne said: “There is far too much fraud and abuse within our nation’s welfare programs. That’s why I have introduced the Public Housing Accountability Act, which will help prevent over-income families from residing in taxpayer funded public housing. Public housing is a critical resource for many of our nation’s poorest families, and we are doing them a disservice by allowing such blatant abuse of the system. It is time Congress gets serious about reforming our nation’s welfare programs to ensure they are both efficient and effective, and my bill is a step in the right direction.”

The Inspector General’s report also found that a number of families were on a waiting list to receive public housing while over-income families took up spots. For example, in the New York City Housing Authority, there are at least 10,000 over-income families living in public housing while over 300,000 families are on a waiting list.

The Public Housing Accountability Act has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

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