By Michael Williams
When the U.S. Congress reconvenes in Sept., U.S. Congressman Phil Roe will present the alarming findings of the audit he had conducted that reveals abuse in public housing. Roe has issued a statement chastising the Department of Housing and Urban Development following an audit that revealed an astounding 25,000 families are living in public housing and are classified as over the income levels to qualify for housing assistance.
The audit was conducted by the Office of the Inspector General after Roe requested the audit in 2013. The OIG’s findings revealed more than 25,000 families around the United States, whose income exceeded the limit, stayed in public housing or received housing assistance in 2014. Worse, nearly 18,000 of those families had earned more than the qualifying amount for more than one year. The OIG estimates that HUD will spend as much as $104.4 million in the next year for housing units occupied by families who are over the income limit.
“I believe we should focus limited government resources on those with the most need, and am extremely concerned by the audit’s findings,” stated Roe. “I was pleased to learn that HUD agrees some changes are needed to ensure public housing is reserved for families who need it the most, and I plan to work to address this issue when Congress reconvenes in September. While I understand the need for some families to live in public housing for extended periods of time, once a family has risen from poverty we should offer other needy families the chance to receive the same help that allowed them to get back on their feet—particularly when there are waitlists for public housing.”
Roe was moved to action after a local news report uncovered the housing abuse in his district. Roe was convinced the problem was nationwide and in 2013 wrote Inspector General David Montoya to request this audit. He followed up his request several times in a two year period.
“I strongly believe taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent,” stated Roe. “Most importantly, because resources are limited, we should prioritize families who are most in need over those who have been given the opportunity to get back on their feet and have done so. Congress should address this mismanagement, and I look forward to pushing for policy changes to ensure families who need help most have access to affordable housing.”
Roe has announced he intends to take the matter before Congress when it reconvenes in Sept. and will ask the legislature to take corrective measures of the abuse.