Congressman cites I-Team investigation in housing scrutiny - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Congressman cites I-Team investigation in public housing scrutiny

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A United States Congressman is now taking action on something exposed last month in a Channel 4 I-Team investigation.

The Channel 4 I-Team reported that some tenants in Metro's public housing system are earning well above the median income in Davidson County - in some cases, as much as $81,000 a year.

Now, U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-TN, is asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate.

Roe says our investigation is proof that changes need to be made to the nation's public housing system.

In a letter he wrote to HUD this month, Roe cited the investigation into the high incomes of people living in Metro's affordable housing and asked federal officials to look into the problem.

"You guys did the story in Nashville, and it may be systemic across the country. And I suspect that it is," Roe said.

The Channel 4 I-Team discovered tenants only have to earn less than the income requirement when they first apply for public houses. But once in the system, there is no income ceiling. That means the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency can't evict them, no matter how much they make a year.

That's something Roe says has to change.

"You're gonna have to gently nudge these folks out who far exceed these income thresholds and get these people off the street," Roe said.

In his letter to HUD, the congressman writes: "There are 4,000 individuals and families on the waiting list, desperate for a chance to put a roof over their heads." He goes on to say: "Those who are able to support themselves must make room for those who are beginning the difficult road to financial stability."

Roe had already asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's inspector general's office to do a federal investigation after a Tri-Cities television station found the same thing happening in their public housing system.

He then followed up with the agency citing the Channel 4 I-Team's investigation.

Roe's office says HUD still hasn't gotten back to them about that request.

When we contacted the HUD inspector general's office, a spokesperson said they can neither confirm nor deny that an investigation is taking place.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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