My Turn: Should there be an income cap on public housing? - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Should there be an income cap on public housing?

Do you set a cap on how much people can make and still live in public housing? In this situation, the family's income increased after they got into public housing. Do you set a cap on how much people can make and still live in public housing? In this situation, the family's income increased after they got into public housing.

Our investigators in the newsroom uncovered an interesting piece of information this week. Records with the Wilmington Housing Authority show a family living in public housing in Wilmington with an annual household income of $83,000.

On the surface, many people would seem to react with shock and an opinion that this shouldn't happen. But Michael Krause, the housing authority director, explains an interesting dilemma.

Do you set a cap on how much people can make and still live in public housing? In this situation, the family's income increased after they got into public housing. So do you kick them out?

Krause told our reporter that if you do that, you run the risk of people not working to increase salaries, out of fear that they'll lose their housing.

He makes a point. But this is a dilemma worth more exploration. I think there has to be a process in which a family that improves its financial situation to a new level, moves on to something else, making room for others on the waiting list for that much needed housing assistance.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed responses from viewers:

I really think that it should be a cap on income for people in public housing because public housing I thought was a place to help you get on your feet and move on to the next stage in life. If public assistance helped you out to a point that you are making more than when you first got into the system it's time to move on and give others a chance to succeed in life like you and others. I think that if a person is making a whole lot of money and is in public housing is just plan wrong. I don't live in public housing wish I could but I nor my mother that is on a waiting list has to wait because of the people that don't need or appreciate public housing won't leave because its cheap and they can save their money. When I saw this on the news my water on the inside started boiling its sad to say


I think they need to not put residents out but to help them put that xtra money they making while living in public housing towards a home or Raise the Rent that will give them no other option.but to make room for the least fortune


I think it shouldn't be a process. I think this is America and you should live where you please. They are not selling drugs and they are making a honest living. I know someone that works lives in Columbus County and the total  Income for two is about a total of $70,000 and they have been living in housing for almost twenty years or more. Sometimes people credit won't allow them to move to bigger and better places so they have to make the best with what they have.  Who ever reported the income I bet you they don't work at all. God bless of America.


I find this story shocking and absurd. How is there not a review process in place for government programs such as this? It's clear to me that anyone with  government assistance should be under the microscope. The entire purpose of assistance is to aid in recovery, not to allow for a permanent crutch. There are too many people taking advantage of government assistance and it's about time something was done about it.




Another interesting point that you might investigate....public housing rent is on a sliding scale based upon income.  How much rent were they paying ( those with $83,000 income)?  My sister was denied public housing in KY when she was working at a bank and making approximately $19,000!


My opinion is that if an individual is making 83, 000 per year they can afford to live outside of housing or be placed in the ownership program.   Housing list are long, not allowing individual that desperately need low income housing to get in.

It's not about not encouraging individuals to seek better employment.  It's about guidelines that will allow a list to be able to sufficiently serve our county of housing needs.

There is cap on income to get into housing,  but NO cap to maintain that housing what sense does that make???

Mr. Cross knows that this is an unfair and unjustified situation, I am sure he makes more that,  does he want to live in housing too....His response is ridiculous. ...


I find that any family making 83,000.00 per year living in public housing is an absolute abuse of our housing assistance program(s).  Yes, people going into public housing have to meet a low income criteria to qualify, so why is it that when they no longer meet that criteria are they allowed to stay in public housing without a exit plan being put in place?  With adequate motivation they should be moving on without having to be forced to, but if they are not motivated to do so on their own accord, they should be given a time frame to vacant the premises (suggesting 60 days) and cannot qualify for public housing again for 2 years.  This would have to be a concrete policy or we will have people reducing or otherwise manipulating their reported income during that period of time (quitting their jobs, etc) to remain eligible for public housing assistance or to re-qualify themselves for assistance before the 2 year duration is up.  If they know their gag is up, they will be more inclined to hold on to their incomes with all their might through the transition, to sustain themselves in the normal housing market.  Another method of increasing public housing assisted residents to increase their means of livelihood is to have a time frame in place for how long they will be able to indulge in the benefits of public housing assistance.  It appears we have a open ended policy that provides people this assistance indefinitely, even for generations.  How does this motivate anyone to better themselves through education or finding more gainful employment so they can become self supporting?

Over the past 13 years I have worked as a counselor for Wilmington Interfaith Hospitality Network, which caters to homeless families with minor children, and as the founder and director of Miracles In Progress Aftercare.  I have also worked with the mentally and physically disabled who are living on the streets of Wilmington who are denied public housing assistance because of the long waiting list, a two year freeze on taking new public housing assistance applications, or because their disability income, plus minimum wage employment, equaling 20,000 - 25,000 per year disqualified them.  Many of them are living in small wooded areas within our city in makeshift tents, and abandoned buildings.  

Being homeless on Wilmington's street is illegal.  People caught sleeping in parks, on benches, in the bushes, under bridges, walking the streets with no money or a destination are subjected to citations, fines and possibly even taken to jail.  I think abusing the public housing with a 83,000.00 income should be against the law.  It would behove me to see that someone living in public housing, making 83,000.00 per year be charged with Loitering.  They have no legitimate reason for being where they are either.  

Be it Section 8 housing or HUD housing, I believe we need to have a time framed exit strategy and planning assistance department that assist residents from time of qualifying for housing assistance, aimed at preparing them to become independent and self supporting in the community within a given time frame.

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