Thousands of over-income families live in public housing across the U.S.

22News is working for you to find out how the system works here, to make sure people who really need help are getting it.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 25,000 families across the U.S. earn too much money to be living in the public housing units they call home. Massachusetts ranked 10th in an audit of abuse in the Department of Housing and Urban Development system, with Boston and New Bedford being the biggest problem areas in the Commonwealth.

Those 25,000 over-income families are a small percentage of the more than 1.1 million families who receive public housing assistance across the country. But still that small percentage will cost more than $104 million dollars just this next year.

22News showed the report to the Springfield Housing Authority. Executive director William Abrashkin said applicant families must provide their income information to qualify, and then are re-certified every year. If Springfield families begin earning income over the eligibility limit, they still won’t be evicted *if* they participate in a ‘self-sufficiency program,’ which includes financial counseling and job programs.

“We have what’s called a fraud unit that can receive anonymous tips, go out and even do surveillance. We have recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent payments that we’ve made,” Abrashkin said.

If you suspect someone is abusing the public housing system in Springfield, 413-785-4500 during office hours. Your identity will be kept strictly confidential.

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