GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A family in Shawano County is among those across the country living in public housing, yet they make much more than the income limits established by the government.
The family has income of about $100,000, more than double the limit to qualify for public housing allowed under the law, WLUK-TV reports. The Shawano County Housing Authority says 98 percent of 202 public housing units in the county are occupied by low-income families. But the authority’s John Wartman says there are five families exceeding the income limit.
That’s because people applying for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development program only have to meet income requirements when they sign up. Once on they’re on the program, it’s indefinite.
Wartman said the family with income of roughly $100,000 has been in public housing since 1994. He said he was surprised to learn about the family’s case, and that he doesn’t know how long they’ve made six-figures.
“In this particular case you have got this family, the wife is working, the husband is working,” Wartman said.
Wartman said the Shawano County family making $100,000 doesn’t need to be in a public housing unit, and is probably taking a spot from a family that needs it more. Robyn Hallet, administrator of the Green Bay Housing Authority, said it would be best for everyone when families who are no longer low-income find new housing.
“The goal of public housing is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing to low-income families,” Hallet said.
A report from HUD’s Office of Inspector General found more than 25,000 families across the country in similar situations. Nearly 2,000 families had six-figure incomes. HUD encouraged housing authorities in a recent letter to use “discretion” to “remove extremely-over-income families.”
Wartman said no one had ever brought up the issue with him. He said he expects the Shawano County housing board to talk about the issue later this month.