PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Imagine making $100,000 or more a year and still being able to live in federally-subsidized public housing. Sound implausible?
KDKA found 64 families making in-excess of the eligible income requirements living in public housing right here in Pittsburgh.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Best City For Baby Boomers, Housing Forecast Says
One making $121,000 a year and still living in a publicly-subsidized duplex, another family making $114,694, a third family making $114,661, and a fourth family making $102,027. Yet, none of those families are required to leave.
“Anyone making $121,000 shouldn’t be in subsidized housing. We want to housing to be available for people who truly need it,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pittsburgh.
Reaction to our report was swift, and now our investigation has spawned action.
“It did. It made us think,” said Frank Aggazio, Allegheny County housing director. “There was no mechanism prior to now to have people who are over-income vacate.”
The Allegheny County Housing Authority has 29 families exceeding income levels, but under a policy expected to be approved by its board next month, they will need to move on.
KDKA found a family in a Sharpsburg community making $96,426, a family in Monroeville making $99,760, and a family in West Mifflin is making $86,302.
They’ll now be given up to two years to vacate and make room for some of the more than 1,000 families who languish on waiting lists.READ MORE: 33-Year-Old Man In Jail, Facing Charges Of Sexual Assault
“So we think our policy is reasonable and just, and takes into account the people on our waiting list and the good families who progressed as they did,” Aggazio said.
The policy requires that families making 120 percent of the allowable income be required to vacate.
It mirrors a bill that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress took action after a recent Inspector General’s report found that HUD is providing public housing assistance to as many as 25,226 families who now exceed income eligibility.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Transition people out of public housing once they get back on their feet, right?”
Rep. Doyle: “Right, and make room for people who have fallen on hard times and need the public housing. Obviously, if you have an income like that, there’s no need for the taxpayers to be subsidizing that.”
A companion bill now moves to the U.S. Senate where it also has bi-partisan support.
“Housing and Urban Development needs to do a better job of identifying these people and getting them out. It’s perpetuating a kind of fraud on taxpayers,” said Sen. Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania.MORE NEWS: Winter Weather Prompts Opening Of Warming Centers
The Pittsburgh Public Housing Authority is waiting on the Senate before revamping its policy on over-income families, but the bill is expected to pass the Senate this summer and make its way to the president’s desk. If signed, it will become the policy nationwide.