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Tuesday, February
2, 2016


Notice seeks comment on
ways to ensure public housing is available for those most in need

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) today announced the agency is considering a new rule to ensure that
individuals and families residing in public housing actually need housing
assistance should their incomes grow well beyond the levels required for their
initial admission. HUD is seeking public comment on methods to
address 'over-income' public housing residents who continue to reside in public
housing as other families wait for vacant units to become available. Read HUD's notice.

About 1.1 million families currently reside in public housing
across the U.S. To qualify for public housing, local Public Housing
Authorities (PHAs) certify applicants' incomes are sufficiently low for
admission. In addition, HUD requires PHAs to conduct annual reviews of
their residents' incomes for purposes of calculating the proper level of
subsidy for each household.

However, current law and regulation do not require eviction or termination of
residency in circumstances when a household's income increases significantly
and consistently over time, even if that family pays full market rent and
receives no subsidy at all. Given the urgent need for affordable rental
housing in many communities, HUD is considering ways to possibly limit public
housing residency to those households that actually require housing assistance.


The United
States Housing Act of 1937 provides that public housing units shall be
rented only to families who are low income at the time of their initial
occupancy. Each year, HUD revises the income limits that determine
initial eligibility for public housing. In general, HUD sets the
low-income limit at 80 percent; very low-income limit at 50 percent; and
extremely low-income limit at 30 percent of the median income for the county or
metropolitan area in which the household resides. Income limits vary from
area to area and may be adjusted based on local market conditions.

Last year, HUD's OIG issued a report that identified
approximately 25,000 public housing families with incomes slightly, moderately
or, in rare cases, substantially above the income limits that qualified them
for initial admission. In a letter to PHAs on September 3, 2015, HUD
strongly recommended that local PHAs adopt reasonable policies that clearly
define 'over income,' provide a safety net for fluctuating incomes, and offer
protections for hardship cases.

In anticipation of a proposed rulemaking, HUD specifically solicits comment on
the following issues:

How should HUD define income that "significantly" exceeds the income
limit for public housing residency? Should such higher amount be determined by
dollar amount, by a percentage, or as a function of the current income limit,
and what should the amount be?

Should area cost of living and family finances be taken into consideration when
determining whether an individual or family no longer needs
public housing assistance? Are there limits to the circumstances in which
said data should be requested and applied in a determination?

What period of time in which an individual or family has had income that
significantly exceeds the income limits should be determined as indicative that
the individual or family no longer
needs public housing assistance?

How should local housing market conditions or housing authority wait list data
be considered?

What period of time should be allowed for an individual or family to find
alternative housing?

Are there exceptions to eviction or termination of tenancy that HUD should
consider beyond those listed in HUD's regulation?

Should HUD allow over-income individuals or families to remain in public
housing, while paying unsubsidized or fair market, rent? How would such a
provision impact PHA operations and finances?

Should HUD require a local appeals process for individuals or families deemed

Where over-income policies have been implemented, what were the results to
public housing residents and PHAs? What were the specific positive and negative

What financial impact would over-income policies have on PHA operations, and
how can any negative impacts be mitigated?

What are the potential costs and benefits to public housing residents and PHAs that
could result from the forcible eviction of public housing tenants?

What evidence currently exists in favor of or against the adoption of this type
of policy?

It is the responsibility of HUD and PHAs to ensure that public housing units
are available to those who need HUD assistance. All comments directed to steps
that HUD and PHAs can take to ensure availability of public housing units for
individuals and families meeting the income limits are welcome.
There are two methods for submitting public comments:

mail: Comments may be submitted by mail to the Regulations
Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban
Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Due
to security measures at all federal agencies, however, submission of
comments by mail often results in delayed delivery. To ensure timely
receipt of comments, HUD recommends that comments submitted by mail be
submitted at least two weeks in advance of the public comment deadline.

electronic submission: Interested persons may submit comments
electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically.
Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to
prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables
HUD to make comments immediately available to the public. Comments
submitted electronically can be viewed by other commenters and interested
members of the public.


mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality
affordable homes for all.

More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet

at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and
follow Secretary Castro on

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