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A Family Living in Public Housing Makes $500,000

How a Family Making $500k a Year Only Pays $1,574 a Month For Rent

Searching for affordable housing is the bane of everyone's existence, and for city dwellers especially, finding the right apartment depends on time, budget, and, of course, luck. And for some residents, luck comes in the form of public housing, where your income levels have to be low enough to qualify for an apartment.

In a new watchdog report, however, researchers found that this was not the case for some families, where they made more than the limit to qualify for public housing. In one instance, a family of four who made $500k a year and is living in public housing, only paid $1,574 a month for rent. Similarly, in Los Angeles, one family of five made $205k a year but only paid $1,100 in rent for subsidized housing.

How is this possible and fair, you might ask?

Turns out, there is a low-income threshold to be admitted into public housing, and once you're in, you're in — no matter how much your income grows in the next couple of years.

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"The Authority believes that allowing over income families to reside in public housing is beneficial because it shows that participation in the public housing program can help families achieve a more stable life and the average rent paid by over income families is greater than that paid by other low income families," the New York Housing Authority said.

For those on the waiting list for public housing, however, this unwritten rule hardly seems fair. In a sample of 15 public housing authorities, about 12,500 families were over income while 580,000 eligible families were waiting for a spot. Do you think families who make more money should be barred from public housing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Source: Flickr user dandeluca
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