On December 10, 2015, WLOS aired a story focused on the incomes of 25 families who reside in Asheville Housing Authority’s developments and tenant-based voucher units. The report criticized us for not forcing the families out of their homes when they are “over income.” The report did not explain that the federal income limits apply when a resident moves in to our programs.
Asheville Housing works hard to ensure that all applicants meet income limits at move-in. There is, however, no mandatory maximum income residents can make after they move in, nor any federal requirement that families be evicted when they reach a certain income level. Absent a federal requirement, it would be counterproductive to put families in fear of a housing disruption if they are working diligently to improve their lives.
The HUD Inspector General’s report, which led to the WLOS’ story, recommended that HUD impose a new requirement that residents be required to move out when they reach a certain income level. If that happens, then we will of course implement it.
In the meantime, we encourage residents to find work and increase their incomes over time. In our programs, residents who continue to improve their lives and incomes eventually pay the full monthly rent, with no public subsidy. Most residents voluntarily move from our programs when they are no longer receiving a subsidy and are able to afford a market rent. Some successfully move on from our programs to homeownership.
As shown in red on this chart, the 25 families who were the focus of the WLOS report represent less than 1% of the 3,000 families we serve. Our priority is to focus on helping the other 99%, especially the almost 80% of families who are “extremely low income.”
Asheville Housing is very concerned about the affordable housing need in our community. Each day our staff works with applicants who are experiencing the reality of that need. During the past 12 months, we have housed 370 new families in our Section 8 project-based developments and tenant-based programs. We are committed to serving applicants and residents in a way that is humane, encourages self-sufficiency, and complies fully with federal law.
Gene Bell, CEO