- By Justin Gray WSB-TV - Atlanta, Ga.
A millionaire is living in public housing, with federal tax dollars paying much of his rent, and a government audit shows it’s not an isolated incident.
The federal audit found thousands of families are making incomes too high to qualify for public housing.
As they continue getting their rents subsidized with taxpayer dollars, more than a half million poor families are sitting on a wait list with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Officials say those people are in need of the affordable housing, but are denied it because others are taking advantage of it.
The audit found 25,000 families living in low-income housing even though they make more money than the program allows.
The issue is that families only have to meet HUD's income requirements to get the housing.
Once they're in, they aren't required to leave if their income increases.
The audit found a New Bedford, Mass., family that brings in more than $212,000 a year has been living in public housing for more than a decade, and they're only paying $525 a month in rent.
A Nebraska millionaire with assets of $1.6 million is only paying $300 a month for HUD housing there.
U.S. Congressman John Mica runs the House committee in charge of overseeing Housing and Urban Development.
“Unfortunately, there are people that game the system,” Mica said.
But HUD officials don't see it that way.
In its official response to the audit, HUD calls the people "model tenants" and role models for other families.
HUD also says removing the families could make it harder for them to keep jobs and stay above the poverty line.