Family earning over $1 million living in NYC public housing

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LOWER MANHATTAN — It pays to live in public housing.

PIX11 Investigates has found over 1,500 households earning six-figure salaries while living in New York City Housing Authority apartments.

“They should move them out,” said Carmen Santiago, an Alfred E. Smith Houses resident.

Housing records obtained by PIX11 Investigates show a family reported making nearly a million dollars while paying only $1,574 in monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment.

The household’s annual income was $497,911 and the head of household owned real estate “that produced $790,534 in rental income between 2009 and 2013,” according to a report by the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“If you’re making more than the mayor of New York City, you should not be living in public housing,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is chairman of the Public Housing Committee.

The city housing authority isn’t urging its deep-pocketed tenants to pack up and leave anytime soon.

“We’ve encouraged, as has HUD, mixed-income communities. It’s a very small percentage,” said Shola Olatoye, the chairwoman of NYCHA.

HUD has urged its public housing authorities to evict tenants who make too much money to qualify for government subsidies.

“This audit, like others, provides HUD an opportunity to re-evaluate policies and initiatives and make improvements where necessary,” said Jereon M. Brown, an agency spokesman.

“As a result, HUD is taking additional steps to encourage housing authorities to establish policies that will reduce the number of over-income families in public housing.”

The current waiting list for apartments in NYCHA apartments has soared to 302,079-- that's up from 250,000 in 2014.

“We have a housing crisis in this city as evidenced by our wait list,” Olatoye said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said NYCHA should create a pathway out but a formal plan hasn’t been discussed.

“I think there are some situations where, yeah, families should, if they get to a strong financial place, move along,” de Blasio said.