Tens of thousands of families were provided housing assistance despite being over the income threshold, leaving some low-income families out in the cold.
Public housing authorities provided public housing assistance to as many as 25,226 families whose income exceeded HUD's 2014 eligibility income limits, according to a recently released Housing and Urban Development Department inspector general audit (pdf).
Of those 25,226 families, IG says 17,761 earned more than the qualifying amount for more than one year.
"As a result, HUD did not assist as many low-income families in need of housing as it could have," IG says.
The problem exists because HUD regulations require families to meet eligibility income limits only when they are admitted to the public housing program, the report says. The regulations do not limit the length of time that families may reside in public housing.
The IG notes that HUD's December 2004 public housing rule gave public housing authorities discretion to implement policies that would require families with incomes above the eligibility threshold to leave public housing.
The 15 housing authorities that IG contacted chose to allow overincome families to reside in public housing, and HUD did not encourage them to require overincome families to find other housing, the report says.