Residents in Richmond’s public housing make over income limits

Posted at 11:28 PM, Feb 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-14 23:28:19-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)- Public housing was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families and persons, but CBS6 has learned there are some people living in Richmond’s public housing making more than federal income limits.

There are currently 2,747 people on the waiting list for housing through the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority.

When people apply for public housing they have to meet certain income limits.

Those limits are based on the median household income in the region.

For example, a family of four in Richmond would need to have an income of $58,300 or less to qualify.

But, overtime, that family may start making more money as their life circumstances improve.

The vast majority of people already in housing run by RRHA have an annual income of less than $20,000 a year, but, CBS6 found examples of some residents making far more.

We found 16 examples of families and individuals in Richmond making more than the eligibility income limit.

According to income data provided to us by RRHA, there are two households with two people in them making more than $60,000 a year.

The income limit  for a two person household in Richmond during the application process is $46,650.

CBS6 even found one family of five living in RRHA housing making more than $82,000.

The income limit for a five person household in Richmond during the application process is $77,000.

TeeTee Neal used to live in public housing, but said she left as soon as she started making more money.

“Some people use it as a place to get themselves together and move on,” Neal said.

Still, Neal said she is not surprised some people do not leave when their income grows.

“I don’t think that’s the way it’s supposed to work, but that’s how it goes,” Neal said.

CBS6 asked RRHA why people are living there who make more than the eligibility income limits.

Spokeswoman Osita Iroegbu sent us this statement:

“It is my understanding that U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rules prohibit housing authorities from denying housing to residents who previously met HUD’s income requirements.”

A spokesperson from HUD told CBS6 there is no requirement for housing authorities to evict residents once they surpass the income limit.

Instead, HUD lets individual housing authorities determine how to deal with that situation.

The HUD spokesperson said all public housing residents pay 30 percent of their income toward rent.

Therefore, the higher an income, the more a resident is paying to live there.

For that reason, he said taxpayers are not subsidizing nearly as much for higher income residents.