Public Housing Change May Evict Alabamians, State Legislature Medicaid Challenges

Feb 8, 2016

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Credit Wikimedia

More than 800 Alabamians could face eviction from public housing under a new proposal that would cut off assistance for higher-earning individuals.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced a proposal aimed at reducing the number of "over-income" tenants who live in government-assisted homes. Currently, federal law requires people to meet income requirements when they move in to government-assisted housing. But they are not forced to leave if their income grows past the threshold.

The new proposal comes after a July 2015 inspector general's report that found more than 25,000 over-income families were living in public housing facilities in the U.S. Of those, 53 percent had income up to $10,000 more than the department's 2014 limits; 47 percent had income of more than $10,000 above the thresholds.

Medicaid funding is expected to be a hot button issue during this year’s legislative session, and a new report says Alabama has a lot of ground to make up.

The advocacy group Families USA recently issued a study saying our state ranks far below the national average in terms of residents with health insurance, even with the Affordable Care Act.

Dee Mahan is with Families USA. She says the number of people in Alabama who got insurance under the ACA improved by twelve percent from 2013 to 2014, but that’s smaller compared to the rest of the country.

“The rate of change for Alabama is substantially lower than the national average of nineteen percent and Alabama is ranking towards the bottom of the states.”

The report says the number of Alabama workers who got health coverage increased by 36,000 people. Alabama’s Medicaid agency is asking for 157 million more dollars this year. Governor Robert Bentley is proposing about $100 million.

Mobile and the rest of the Gulf Coast are expected to be awash in Green, Gold, and Purple.

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras. But you don’t have to wait until tomorrow to grab a handful of beads, doubloons, or maybe a Moon Pie. Mardi Gras parades in the area started on January 9. Five processions are scheduled today with six more tomorrow on Fat Tuesday.

Judi Gulledge is the Executive Director of the Mobile Carnival Association. She says that these celebrations are special for their sense of safety.

“Our Carnival celebration here in Mobile is very family oriented. We have a very safe Mardi Gras here. Very public safety appearance on the parade route itself. So it’s a different kind of celebration and one we’re very proud of.”

Mobile prides itself on originating Mardi Gras in the United States in 1703, long before the celebration caught on in New Orleans.