Housing: Sequestration Threatens "Sect 8" Bay Area Tenants
- See below for the latest impact of Sequestration cuts on Section 8 tenants
>>>>>>>(San Francisco Bay Area)
Bay Area housing subsidies suffer from sequestration
By Mark Emmons
Posted: 04/05/2013 03:45:59 PM PDT
Updated: 04/05/2013 04:46:40 PM PDT
Verna Hayden is 81 years old, lives on a fixed income and now finds herself an unlikely face of the "sequestration" drama emanating from Washington, D.C. Hayden would love for "those politicians" to see how frugally she lives so they could understand why the federal budget cuts to housing assistance has people like her so panicked.
"They should be in our
shoes for just one week to see how we're doing our best to make ends meet and how losing even a little bit will hurt someone like me," said Hayden, who lives in a Gilroy retirement complex. "There's a human reality to what's happening. We're not just numbers."
Hayden is one of the thousands throughout the Bay Area who receives rental subsidies from the government's Section 8 voucher program. But local housing authorities are grappling with millions in sequester-forced cuts -- which means less help available for low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities.
The Santa Clara County Housing Authority, for instance, has lost $21 million in funding and desperately is searching for ways to avoid the worst-case scenario -- pulling vouchers from some of the 17,000 households it serves. That would be a disaster with the sky-high cost of Bay Area rental housing, said Executive Director Alex Sanchez.
"We're being put in an untenable position of having to decide winners and losers among the most vulnerable," Sanchez added. "We're forced to pit one group of poor people against another group. Seniors versus the disabled. Homeless versus working-poor families. It's an impossible choice with terrible consequences."
As the sequester has begun to hit home, Alicia Diaz is holding her breath to learn if she and her two young children will be part of the collateral damage.
"If I get cut from the program, I don't know what I would do," said Diaz, 46, a secretary at the Milpitas Unified School District. "I probably would be homeless. I don't understand why they're cutting something that helps working people like me. It's just so unnecessary."
housing authorities in Oakland, Alameda County and San Mateo County believe they can avoid eliminating vouchers in the short term, there is a cost. Those agencies, like others across the country, are freezing their current waiting lists. So as vouchers become available, they won't be reissued to other families who often have spent years hoping to get one.
"If this is the new normal, then we're going to be serving 800 to 900 fewer families a year," said Eric Johnson, the Oakland Housing Authority's executive director, which is facing $11 million in sequester cuts. "The safety net just got some big holes in it, and you're going to see this gradual erosion where people become more and more desperate."
Sequestration was intended to be a sort of poison pill -- $85 billion in automatic, across-the-board cuts in discretionary federal spending so unpalatable to both Democrats and Republicans that they would be forced into negotiating a "grand bargain" budget agreement. But even that didn't break the ongoing political deadlock, and the ax fell when the March 1 deadline passed, leading to deep cuts in military spending and furloughs for federal workers.
The ripple effect also has begun to rock the rent-subsidy program, which has received bipartisan support as it assists low-income households. Seniors and the
disabled make up about half of the 2.2 million households nationally who received assistance.
Recipients typically pay about 30 percent of their income in rent, and the voucher makes up the difference. That can be a godsend for the poor in the high-cost Bay Area.
"The rental market just doesn't work for these people because they are so far below the poverty level," said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. " That's why for low-income families, this is just a disaster and it's tremendously unfair."
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told Congress in February that about 125,000 households nationally could lose their rental subsidies and would be at risk of becoming homeless because of the sequester. In California, there are about 350,000 families in the program. When you take into account the 6-percent cuts, potentially 21,000 households could be affected statewide, said Bill Lowery, the San Mateo County Housing Authority executive director.
"No matter how you look at this, we're helping fewer struggling families," he added.
This situation has become dire in places like San Francisco and Santa Clara County, in large part because of the extreme cost of housing.
The San Francisco Housing Authority, which like other agencies already was hamstrung by previous budget cuts, is expecting a $6.2 million operating loss by the end of the fiscal year in September.
Sanchez said expensive housing in Santa Clara County, the large number of households served and virtually no turnover in vouchers limits the agency's ability to find savings.
It's difficult to persuade landlords to take any less money when in a tight rental market "there are three, four, five private renters who can pay more waiting right behind the Section 8 people," Sanchez said. And voucher recipients say they would be hard-pressed to pay any more.
"I couldn't pay 40 percent of my income," said Amy Samelson, 55, of San Jose, who lives on $866 a month from Social Security disability. "I don't know how I would eat."
Housing officials will present a course of action at an April 23 meeting. But while Sanchez said the last thing they will consider is cutting off people from the program, he added: "It's basic math, and the money is just not there."
Unless there's a compromise in Washington, the problem only will worsen. That's because the sequester cuts would continue over a 10-year period.
Hayden considers herself "lucky" to get $1,100 a month from Social Security and a small retirement account. But she has no idea what will
happen if she loses even part of her rental assistance.
"I know there are people who believe we don't deserve the help we get," Hayden said. "But we're not receiving some free stuff. I worked my whole life. I've made things stretch. But now I'm worried what's going to happen next."
Contact Mark Emmons at 408-920-5745. Follow him at Twitter.com/markedwinemmons.
sequestration's IMPACT On Rental Assistance
Santa Clara County Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 17,000 Number of households on waiting list: 25,000 Budget cut: $21 million
Oakland Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 13,400 Number of households on waiting list: 10,200 Budget cut: $11 million
San Francisco Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 9,575 Number of households on waiting list: 14,000 Budget cut: $9.4 million
Contra Costa County Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 6,236 Number of households on waiting list: 6,000 Budget cut: $7.2 million
Alameda County Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 6,100 Number of households on waiting list: 700 Budget cut: $5.8 million
San Mateo County Housing Authority
Number of Section 8 voucher households: 4,172 Number of households on waiting list: 311 Budget cut: $3.6 million
Market rate for two-bedroom, one-bath apartment
Bay Area: $1,653 Santa Clara County: $1,892 Alameda County: $1,566 Contra Costa County: $1,335 San Mateo County: $2,155 San Francisco: $2,748
>>>>>>>(Marin County, CA.)
Feds cut Marin rent subsidy program by $2.7 million
By Nels Johnson Marin Independent Journal
Posted: 04/03/2013 02:41:27 PM PDT
Across-the-board federal budget cutbacks will whack $2.7 million from Marin's public housing subsidy program, stunned county officials disclosed Wednesday.
"This is a shock," said Judy Arnold, president of the Board of Supervisors, adding officials were scrambling to determine what could be done to fill the gap.
At issue is a roughly 10 percent cutback in funds benefiting 2,100 families enrolled in the Section 8 rental subsidy program, most in San Rafael and Novato. Cuts loom for administration and other housing programs as well.
County housing chief Lewis Jordan said that as "specifics are trickling in from Washington about the automated cuts known as the sequester, it is clear that the Marin Housing Authority will need to reduce its services."
"The across-the-board national funding cuts will affect Marin County residents regardless of their economic vulnerability," Jordan said, adding that many of those affected are elderly or disabled.
County officials are seeking an emergency grant while Lewis hurdles legal complexities as he tries to determine how to proceed in a way that benefits most of those involved.
"We're going to speak to the Marin Community Foundation to see if they can provide a glide path," Arnold said. "It's important for us to fill the gap" pending deliberations in
Washington D.C. that will determine the extent of future funding, she said. "We don't know if this is a short-term problem" or a permanent cut.
Next fiscal year's county budget includes a $5 million reserve fund earmarked to help ease federal and state budget cuts.
Thomas Peters, CEO of the community foundation, said Wednesday that he had not yet conferred with the county about the funding crisis. "Sounds as if the slowly-building sequester tsunami is rolling in," he noted.
The housing cutbacks affecting Marin's poor appear to be among the most significant local impacts so far after the failure of Congress to reach a budget accord.
"The details have not been ironed out, but the cuts will impact Marin housing's two largest programs — housing choice voucher and public housing," Jordan reported. Because the housing authority has annual contracts with 1,600 landlords that lock in rent payments, the cuts will affect tenants, some of whom could see rents double. Tenants now pay rent based on their earnings, generally about 30 percent of income, and federal subsidies pick up the rest.
In a letter to rent subsidy tenants, Jordan explained that officials are studying ways to "retain as many families as possible in the housing voucher program," including reducing "our current payment standards" by hiking tenant rents.
"I'm running numbers how to determine how much more tenants will have to pay," Jordan said, noting the pinch could be shared by landlords over the next year as leases expire.
What Congress will do is anybody's guess, Jordan said. "I'm not sure Washington knows what is going on," he added.
Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, could not immediately be reached for comment, and a spokeswoman at the San Francisco office of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development had no information on the extent of cutbacks in the state or elsewhere, saying the situation in Washington was "fluid."
The Marin County Housing Authority operates with a $30 million budget and 50-member staff that provides housing assistance to 10,000 Marin residents.
Contact Nels Johnson via email at ij.civiccenter@.... Follow him at twitter.com/nelsjohnsonnews
>>>>>>>Cuts concern housing authority officials
Published: Saturday, April 06, 2013
By DANIELLE LYNCH dlynch@... @dmlreporter
Officials at two local housing authorities said they are concerned about the so-called sequestration cuts, saying they could affect employees and possibly the people they serve.
Click below for full story...
>>>>>>>DHA 6% reduction in payments -Sequestration hits home
April 4, 2013 By NDG Staff Writer
Click below for full story...
Low income tenants who participate on the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program received letters this week from the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) informing them that the rent DHA will pay to their landlord is being reduced due to the 6% cut in funding.
The letter says that landlords will have until April 10th to decide whether to accept the rent decrease. If not,
the tenant may need to move. Tenants may also face a rent increase. A copy of the letter from DHA is attached. Details on page 2 will vary from tenant to tenant.
>>>>>>>Housing authority to suffer impacts of sequestration
By ASHLEY GEBB-Staff Writer
Posted: 04/04/2013 12:39:29 AM PDT
Click below for full story...
Twenty-five years ago, Barbara Foy stood in line for eight hours with her infant daughter in hopes of getting government assistance.
A quarter-century later, she never imagined she'd still be on welfare but she's thankful she is and for all the aid it has provided through the rough and tough times of her life.
"It saved our lives," she said. "It's against the law to be poor in California — you can't be homeless with kids. But so many people are."
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported this week that the March 1 budget cuts known as sequestration could deny rental assistance to 140,000 low-income families nationwide by the end of 2014.
Ed Mayer, executive director of the Butte County Housing Authority, said the local agency will offset cuts the best it can — mostly with reserves — but ongoing reductions will eventually decrease
Housing Choice Vouchers residents like Foy receive.
Cuts could ax 100 families from Section 8
Apr. 4, 2013 2:00 PM,
Click below for full story...
A housing program that subsidizes rent and utilities for low-income families will see a federal funding cut that's the equivalent of the assistance provided to more than 100 households.
>>>>>>>Apr 3, 2013, 10:47am EDT
MHA feels pinch of sequestration
Click below for full story...
Low-income families who rely on federal assistance programs channeled through the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority may soon begin feeling the impact sequestration-related cutbacks.
Officials from BMHA said they are bracing for a possible $5.89 million loss in federal aid that helps people in the city’s subsidized and public housing programs. The culprit is Washington’s budgetary logjam that took effect on March 1.
Dawn Sanders-Garrett, BMHA executive director, said the federal Section 8 cuts could directly impact at least 105 families, who may lose all or some of the federal assistance. BMHA is anticipating $3.2 million in funding from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development will be cut as will another $1.89 million in Section 8 housing subsidies
and $896,000 from an original proposed $8.2 million capital improvement program.
This year’s reduction is follows cuts felt by another 1,208 BMHA families who last year saw half their federal rent subsidies eliminated by Washington-fueled cutbacks.
Published: April 3, 2013 3:00 a.m.
Sequester imperils housing, vouchers
Local agency waiting to learn how much
Dan Stockman | The Journal Gazette
Click below for full story...
The federal sequester has not yet directly affected Fort Wayne residents dependent on public housing, but officials fear it could have a long-term impact on the agency providing it.
04/04/2013 10:10 PM
Sequester Cuts Impact Housing Authority
By: Christina Noce
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Sequestration could tap into Abilene Housing Authority funds
By Tiffany Walden - April 2, 2013 --
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The Abilene Housing Authority is projecting an estimated 5.1-percent across-the-board cut in its budget due to sequestration, the authority’s executive director said Tuesday.
Because of those funding cuts, AHA recently announced changes to its Housing Choice Voucher program — a decrease in its payment standards from 100 percent of fair market rent to 90 percent, and revisions in its sliding scale for rent payments based on family income.
However, with the March 1 sequester cuts, Reed said AHA now will implement immediate rent increases for program recipients whose income has increased even before the annual recertification.
“So in that same scenario, that person would start paying a higher rent the next month because we can’t wait for recertification. We can’t afford it,” Reed said.
Erie Housing Authority Budget Hit by Sequestration
Click below for full story...
April 2, 2013- Erie Housing Authority Executive Director John E. Horan and four other top administrative employees volunteered to take a pay freeze in order to help solve federal funding cuts affecting the Authority.
On March 25th the Board of the Authority approved the pay freeze as part of their 2013 budgets for two major housing programs. These budgets reflect the impact of the recent sequester of funds from the
federal government, reducing the 2013 allocation to the Housing Authority by $588,500.
Reduction, through attrition, of 87 families who are eligible to receive affordable housing assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program ($186,912)
Elimination of the Congregate evening meals at Schmid Towers, Friendship, and Ostrow Apartments, effective June 1, 2013 ($48,000)
>>>>>>>(Sacramento County, CA.)1,700 families at risk of losing Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers...
Click below or copy and paste for
housing authority statement....
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Sacramento County, CA. - 1,700 families at risk of losing Section 8 vouchers, placing 4,800 people at risk of homelessness.)Editorial: Sequester cuts could add to homelessnessBy the Editorial BoardPublished: Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6ELast
Modified: Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013 - 10:56 am
Click below for full editorial...http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/31/5303451/editorial-sequester-cuts-could.html
The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is bracing for a 9.4 percent cut, or the loss of $13.9 million this year. The bulk of the money goes to subsidize rents for poor families.The magnitude of the cut means that housing subsidies that cover approximately 1,700 families in Sacramento County will be lost beginning as early as July. There is a straightforward fix that could avoid putting more than 4,800 people – all
poor, and many of them children, elderly or disabled – out of their homes.The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development could authorize local housing officials to reduce subsidies to landlords by a set amount, say $75 per unit. But so far HUD has refused to do so. It seems the federal bureaucrats are having difficulty determining whether they have the legal power to authorize such a common-sense accommodation.There's another option – one that does not require federal authorization.Local housing officials could ask landlords to voluntarily give up a portion of the subsidy they receive – that is, ask apartment owners who accept federal housing vouchers to cut rents for a period of time.Landlords have an incentive to do so. If they refuse to cut poor tenants some slack by reducing rents, they will have to evict them. Under California law, eviction is a time-consuming and expensive process.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Montana)Missoula Housing Authority: Federal cutbacks to reduce available subsidiesMarch 31, 2013 - By Martin KidstonClick below for full story...
Federal budget cuts will reduce the number of Section 8 vouchers offered by the Missoula Housing Authority, just as the city considers adopting its 10-year plan to end
homelessness.Cuts to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a result of sequestration, also may impact other local housing programs available to Missoula’s poor, the elderly and those with disabilities on the verge of becoming homeless.“The city just released its 10-year plan to end homelessness, and a lot of that relies on having subsidies,” said Lori Davidson, director of the Missoula Housing Authority. “The housing subsidy levels are the lowest they’ve ever been, historically.”While the housing authority’s reduction in Section 8 vouchers means little to current voucher recipients, it does hold implications for an estimated 2,000 people on the waiting list.The housing authority currently has funding for 774 Section 8 vouchers. Cutbacks will force the agency to reduce that number to 720. The housing authority will allow attrition – not eviction – to bring the numbers down.“Those on the waiting list have been waiting
for a long time already,” Davidson said. “With
sequestration, we won’t be issuing any new vouchers for the foreseeable future.”The authority had squirreled away roughly $450,000 over the years in reserve funding. Davidson said it used $300,000 of that money last year to maintain its current 774 Section 8 vouchers.This year, it will use the remaining $150,000 in reserves, even as it reduces the program’s size. With just 720 vouchers available, more than 50 families must leave the Section 8 program before the housing authority issues vouchers to new tenants.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Georgia)Federal cuts to have slow impact on MaconMarch 31, 2013The Macon Housing Authority Section 8 housing program is taking an 8.2 percent cut which may mean fewer vouchers...
Click below for full story...
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Indiana)Housing, food programs hit by budget cutsUpdated: Sunday, 31 Mar 2013, 11:31 AM EDTPublished : Sunday, 31 Mar 2013, 11:31 AM EDTClick below for full story...http://www.wane.com/dpp/news/indiana/housing-food-programs-hit-by-budget-cuts
VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) -- Agencies across Indiana are dropping flood insurance, scaling back on free meals for the elderly and reducing the number of Section 8 housing vouchers they provide as funding shrinks because of automatic federal budget cuts.
The cuts known as the sequester were designed as a deadline to force a deal to reduce the federal deficit. Instead, Congress and the White House failed to agree, and the cuts kicked in March 1.That's forced many agencies that rely on federal money to make cuts of their own.Linda Fredrick, the housing authority's executive director, said she expects the housing authority to get about 82 percent of its usual appropriation from the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development. A subsidy the authority receives for capital improvements, usually about $500,000 a year, will be cut in half.Frederick said the authority has 372 housing vouchers available but is only using about 300 of them. The agency also will likely have to increase the rents it charges, she said.In Fort Wayne, where nearly 3,000 people receive Section 8 vouchers, housing officials are trying to absorb as much of the cuts as they can before eliminating people from the program.Maynard Scales, executive director of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority, told WANE-TV the agency hopes to be able to serve more people, but at a lower rate of assistance.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(New Orleans)HANO recalls 700 Section 8 vouchers, blames sequesterBy Richard A. Webster, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Follow on Twitter on March 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM, updated March 29, 2013 at 4:08 PMhttp://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/03/hano_recalls_700_section_8_vou.htmlAfter spending four years on the waiting list for a Section 8 housing voucher, Rashaad Foley's dream of moving into a place of her own with her 5-year old daughter were about to come true. Foley received her voucher last year and after several dead ends, she finally found the perfect home. It was in a good neighborhood, just two blocks from her mother's house, had a backyard and came equipped with a security system.She put down a $750
deposit, which was hard to come by, Foley said, and was waiting for the Housing Authority of New Orleans to inspect the building when she received a letter from David Gilmore, HANO's administrative receiver."A number of circumstances including over subscription of vouchers and budget cuts have combined to make it necessary that we temporarily suspend use of currently unused vouchers under the Housing Choice Voucher Program," the March 21 letter stated. "Consequently, the voucher issued to you must be
withdrawn effective immediately."Automatic federal funding cuts known as the "sequester" went into effect March 1 forcing HANO to decrease its housing services budget by 17 percent. As part of the cutbacks, about 700 Section 8 housing vouchers recently awarded but not yet in use for rental assistance were suspended.The
sequestration cuts were exacerbated by an excess number of housing vouchers in the New Orleans market, Gilmore said at HANO's March 26 board meeting.When he arrived in 2009, Gilmore said the Section 8 program was underused with nearly 12,000 families in voucher subsidized rental housing and 22,000 people on the waiting list. So he opened up the program that year and for the first time since 2003 HANO began accepting new Section 8 applications. Today there are 17,900 subsidized families with 13,250 people on the waiting list."HANO, like other housing agencies, walks a thin line," Gilmore said. "The
under-utilization of Section 8 vouchers gets you in big trouble, but if you use more vouchers than you have money for you have to pay back the federal government. In trying to achieve that balance we issued more vouchers than we can pay for."It would cost HANO $5 million -- money it doesn't have -- to fund the 700 suspended vouchers, Gilmore said."So we called back vouchers not in use, asked people to go back on the waiting list and when the situation resolves itself we will give them back their vouchers," Gilmore said. "No one will lose housing as result of us taking your voucher away."Foley and others affected by the suspension don't see it that way.Foley said she had an apartment lined up near the end of last year but HANO officials told her the $650 rent was too high and refused to approve the unit, even though her voucher was worth $762. The landlord of the next apartment Foley looked at turned her down because she didn't have a rental history. The
third house appeared to be the charm until HANO temporarily suspended the program."I feel like it's their fault because I could have been living somewhere by now," she said.Foley lost half of the $750 deposit because she was forced to back out of a signed lease after her voucher was taken away. She is now living at a friend's house with her daughter. Foley said the most she can afford to pay in rent without any government assistance is $400 and those rates haven't been seen in New Orleans since before Hurricane Katrina.It's not fair for the government to take away vouchers from people who have already signed a lease, put down a deposit and are hung up on the final
step, waiting for HANO approval so they can move in, said Colette Tippy, lead organizer for Stand with Dignity, an advocacy group for public housing residents."I talked to a woman who just found a place. Her son was shot twice when he was 8 so she keeps her kids in the house all the time. But she finally found somewhere safe and was so excited," Tippy said. "She borrowed $1,000 from family and friends for the deposit and talked to her kids about playing in the yard and being able to go outside. She was devastated when she got the letter. These politicians are playing with people's lives."At the board meeting,
Gilmore said that his staff would review each case and some people, depending on how far along they are in the process, might be able to keep their vouchers.After Section 8 tenants sign a lease, HANO inspects the property, determines if the rent is reasonable, reviews ownership, and then signs a contract with the landlord approving the voucher payments.For people like Foley, who waited four years to receive a voucher and were just a few steps from moving into their first home, anything less than granting them full approval would be a travesty, Tippy said."A lot of people have spent a lot of time and money going from place to place, taking off work, putting down deposits and to have all of that come to nothing in the end is crazy," she said.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Agencies in Maryland dodge furloughs — for nowOther signs of sequestration's impact begin to hit areaBy John Fritze, The Baltimore SunMarch 30, 2013Click below for full story...http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-fed-furloughs-20130330,0,7550544.storyThe Housing Authority of Baltimore City, meanwhile, has shut the Section 8 voucher program to new applicants — a move that will close off housingsubsidies to about 50 additional Baltimore families a month and add to a lengthy waiting list.The agency, which is expected to take a roughly $25 million hit in federal funding this year, is struggling to balance aid with emergency repairs it must make to its buildings, said Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano."There's a trade-off there," he said. "To do these basic, emergency capital improvements so that these buildings will continue to be occupiable, further money will come out of Section 8."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>York: Cheaper to rent, but incomes still lowMOLLIE DURKIN / The York Dispatch505-5432 / @ydhealthUpdated: 03/30/2013 01:10:02 PM EDT
Click below for full story...
The authority owns and operates more than 1,000 public housing units and offers Section 8 rental assistance and management services to eligible residents. But those programs might soon be on the chopping block.
Fox said the programs could be cut by as much as 30 percent under federal sequestration."So far, sequestration is taking a meat cleaver to the patient rather than a scalpel," he said, calling the cuts "too broad, too deep and not carefully done."
He said the cuts are affecting more than just the programs.
"Many housing authorities, especially in Pennsylvania, are having to look
at layoffs for people who provide services for elderly and challenged," he said, citing Allegheny County Housing Authority's recent layoff of 13 staff members.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>March 29, 2013Stillwater to feel sting of sequesterBy Russell HixsonStillwater NewsPresshttp://www.stwnewspress.com/local/x237732192/Stillwater-to-feel-sting-of-sequesterSTILLWATER, Okla. — The wide range of federal budget cuts known as the sequester will be shrinking funds for some area organizations.Mission of Hope, a shelter that helps area homeless get back on their feet, anticipates approximately $12,500 in cuts from grants this summer.
Director Jana Nelson said the shelter gets four grants — two transitional housing grants and two permanent housing grants. Nelson said they have been informed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that, as part of the $85 billion in federal cuts, the grants would be trimmed by 5 percent.
“It would likely reverse significant progress made over the last several years in reducing chronic homelessness and homelessness among the nation’s veterans,” wrote Ann Marie Olivia, director of special needs assistance programs for HUD in an email to homeless grant recipients.
“It’s definitely going to hurt the homeless,” Nelson said.
Wings of Hope, a local group that supports victims of domestic violence, is also expecting some cuts but how much is hard to say. Executive Director Marie Abraham-Robinson said five employees at the organization are partially funded by the Victims of Crimes Act grant. The state will receive 5 percent less to distribute to organizations. How much each organization will be affected is difficult to say, Abraham-Robinson said.
“We will continue our fundraising efforts because grants are not guaranteed, and we cannot rely solely on grants to maintain our agency’s programs,” Abraham-Robinson said. “Our shelter and non-shelter services are essential to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and these programs need to remain in place.”
She encouraged residents to donate to the United Way and to shop at Elite Repeat, where purchases help support Wings of Hope.
Project H.E.A.R.T. is another organization that could be affected by the sequester.
The organization serves hot meals to seniors in Stillwater. Director Chris Harden said cuts for the service are coming. She said Project H.E.A.R.T. soon will receive word on how deep those cuts will be.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Indianapolis Housing Agency to furlough workers because of sequesterMar. 29, 2013 10:49 AMClick below for full story...http://www.indystar.com/article/20130329/NEWS/303290029/Indianapolis-Housing-Agency-furlough-workers-because-sequester
With its budget crimped by the federal sequester, Indianapolis Housing Agency has decided to furlough its employees for nine days this year and freeze hiring and capital expenditures.The spending reductions will help the agency cope with a $3.8 million budget reduction this year from the congressionally triggered spending cuts that kicked in this month,
said Bud Myers, IHA executive director.The IHA said the nine days of unpaid leave for its employees will save $280,000. The furlough days will be April 29, May 24, June 7, July 5, Aug. 9 and 30, Oct. 14, Nov. 27 and Dec. 24. IHA will close for regular business on those days.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Housing Authority feeling sequester’s impactBy FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZStaff Writer - March 29, 2013
repo...@... has been affected by the sequestration in recent weeks, the San Benito Housing Authority included.The federal sequester is approximately $85 billion in cuts of government agencies over a span of seven months, this after a compromise on deficit reduction could not be achieved by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Also included in the sequestration is approximately $109 billion in cuts over the next eight years.
According to SBHA Executive Director Arnold Padilla,
Section 8, the voucher program, has taken some hits as a result.“Like most housing authorities across the states, any reductions in funding affect families we assist,” Padilla said Thursday.So how much exactly is Section 8 affected? Padilla estimated that the voucher program is funded 88 percent of what was budgeted the previous year.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Texas)TCOG prepares for sequester impacthttp://www.kxii.com/news/headlines/TCOG-prepares-for-sequester-impact-200544421.htmlSHERMAN, TX -- During a special meeting TCOG board members were briefed on the impact programs are facing because of the sequester.Director Susan Thomas says the public housing program is looking at a 13 percent cut between now and December, and their Aging program will feel the heat. But she says state agencies will assist with funding, to cushion the blow.The program most affected could be the Section 8 program. Thomas says they could lose about 31 vouchers, which means 31 families would be without help for a place to live. But they do have extra federal funding to fall backon."We won't have to immediately pull vouchers from families. Some of them will fall off from attrition and those, if we get to the point where we have to reduce that, they'll provide some additional funding to support that so that the implementation is not quite as harsh," Thomas said.TCOG says they will do anything possible to make sure no Texoma family is homeless as a result of the sequester.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Marlborough, MA.)Rent increases expected for Section 8 tenants in MarlboroughBy Kendall Hatch/Daily News staffThe MetroWest DailyNewsPosted Mar 29, 2013 @ 12:01 AM
MARLBOROUGH — Some tenants with Section 8 housing vouchers will see their rents jump nearly 50 percent because of federal cuts linked to the sequester.
Housing Director Doug Bushman told the Community Development Authority Thursday that the average rent increase for a tenant with a voucher will be about 45 percent.Bushman said the federal department of Housing and Urban Development is decreasing the amount of money it gives to the city for Section 8 payments to landlords by 6 percent. Money to administer the program will be cut by 31 percent.Those numbers are not final, as HUD could make changes before the cuts go into effect in May, he said.The board could have chosen to pull vouchers, but decided to spread out the cuts across voucher holders. Bushman said he pulled two vouchers issued late last year but weren’t being used. The city holds 135 vouchers, 125 of which are within the city.Bushman said the Housing Division would change the formula that dictates how much a voucher holder’s rent would be subsidized in a way that is
expected to cut the cost of the program by just under $13,000 a month.Bushman said that of the 135 tenants holding vouchers, 35 will see no change in their subsidy at all. Three or four tenants will see their subsidies increase. The rest will see increases in their rent ranging from a few percentage points to more than twice of what they currently pay."There are a lot of tenants who are going to be really hurting," CDA member Lynn Faust said.After the meeting, Bushman gave a few
concrete examples of what rents might look like for some current tenants.One tenant now paying $320 monthly will be bumped to $479. Another paying $130 will see their share go up to $331.Bushman said that some of his colleagues do not believe the cuts will come through and have not prepared for them. He said that he hopes that by demonstrating that Marlborough is taking the situation seriously, HUD may be more inclined to offer the city additional assistance and soften the blow.Regardless, Bushman said on Thursday that he had envelopes stuffed for tenants and landlords giving them 30 days notice of the potential rent increases. He said he intended to send them out after Thursday morning’s meeting.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Philadelphia Housing Authority approves new budget planClick below for full story...
Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: Friday, March 29, 2013, 3:01 AmThrough a combination of layoffs, cost cutting, and property sales, the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) hopes to offset by $23.3 million the shortfall in its budget caused by the sequester cuts.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Riverside County, CA - 746 voucher holders at risk of losing vouchers)Cuts Threaten Riverside County Housing VouchersBy David Downey6 p.m.March 28, 2013Click below for full story...http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/mar/28/federal-cuts-threaten-housing-vouchers/
Automatic federal budget cuts that took effect earlier this month could jeopardize housing vouchers for more than 700 low-income Riverside County families, county officials say.It is anticipated that so-called sequestration will yank $6 million out of a $71 million program that helps nearly 9,000 families make rent, said Heidi Marshall, an assistant director for the Economic Development Agency who oversees the county Housing Authority."These are trying times. We have never seen anything like this before," Marshall said in a telephone interview recently. “The bottom line is we’re going to have to downsize the cost of that program somehow."Marshall
said officials are weighing whether to cut off support from as many as 746 families to trim the $6 million, or to require everyone to pay a greater share of rent. As it is, participants pay 30 percent and the county picks up the other 70 percent.Neither option is attractive.More than half of those served are elderly or disabled, Marshall said.“You’re talking about people on a very fixed income. Any increase is going to be
detrimental," she said.Three-fourths of all participants enter the program making no more than 30 percent of the median Riverside County income -- $13,400 for a one-person household or $15,300 for a family of two, Marshall said.The maximum they earn is half the median income, defined as $22,300 for one person and $25,500 for a two-person family.Not only will the federal move affect some or all of 8,952 families who receive rental
assistance, for the rest of 2013 it will prevent anyone else from enrolling, Marshall said.More than 15,000 people are waiting for Section 8 housing vouchers, including veterans who are having difficulty finding places to live, Marshall said.“It’s just a shame because we have close to 1,000 veteran families on our waiting list right now," she said.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(Georgia)Housing authority examines budget possibilities for next fiscal yearMarch 28, 2013
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The threat of sequestered funds has made many government agencies look hard into their budgets for the next fiscal year.The LaGrange Housing Authority board met Tuesday to discuss two budget options, one including the possibility of HUD not giving any subsidy for the year; the other budget showed that of receiving an 87 percent subsidy from HUD.In budget sheets of the two plans, the zero subsidy budget would leave the possibility of $1.9 million in LHA funding being vulnerable to HUD recapture as opposed to to $2.5 million being recaptured if they
were to receive the normal 87 percent subsidy from HUD. With the no subsidy plan, they would use $1.5 million of their reserve fund for LHA operations.These budgets are based on estimates and assumptions, according to Willie Beatty a managing partner for the housing authority, as it is unclear what will happen with government funding. Beatty said LHA will likely go through budgeting several times throughout the year and recommended the budget be an interim budget, so they can revise it at any time if needed.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Augusta Housing Authority approves operating budget with $800,000 deficitBy Meg MirshakStaff WriterThursday, March 28, 2013 4:27 PMClick below for full story...
Reductions in federal subsidies will require the Augusta Housing Authority to operate using money from its reserves in the coming fiscal year.
On Thursday, the housing authority’s board of commissioners approved an operating budget for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, with a projected $800,000 deficit.
Subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development were down 13 percent, compared with the current fiscal year. The housing authority took an additional 5 percent hit from sequestration, or widespread federal spending cuts that began March 1, said Jacob Oglesby, the executive director of the Augusta Housing Authority.
Because of the reductions, the operating budget does not include money to fill 12 of 13 vacant staff positions or pay salary increases or cost-of-living
adjustments, Oglesby said.
The housing authority will limit replacements of equipment such as refrigerators in housing units and will hold off on replacing older vehicles in its fleet.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Sequester hits Northwest Georgia Housing Authorityby Doug Walker, Associate Editor - March 28, 2013Click below for full story...http://romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/22090639/article-Sequester-hits-Northwest-Georgia-Housing-Authority?instance=home_news_lead_storyThe Northwest Georgia Housing Authority is looking for ways to trim its budget in the face of the potential loss of HUD operating subsidies.
Finance Director Phillip Steers briefed the board Wednesday on the potential impact of sequestration on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development budget.
“I took our budget and basically said ‘what would happen if nothing else changed and we only had 82-percent funding,’” Steers said. “Overall, we’ll still have a profit of $160,000 approximately, but that’s a far cry from the $397,000 we were talking about.”
Steers said housing authority management would be meeting with staff in the near future.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Hano Works To Keep Section 8 Voucher Families Off Wait ListMarch 26, 2013http://wgno.com/2013/03/26/hano-works-to-honor-vouchers-for-families-closest-to-moving-in/
WGNO News has
new details about a story reported exclusively last weekend.7-hundred families found out they’d be placed back on the waiting list to receive section-8 housing.Now leaders with the Housing Authority of New Orleans are trying to help families who were furthest along in the process of securing housing.Darian Trotter continues our coverage.The Housing Authority of New Orleans has had a steady stream of clients coming and going.In some cases, after finding out their newly issued section-8 housing vouchers are being withdrawn, they’ve been devastated.WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter asked, “What did they say? They just told me that I gotta wait, I gotta move out the house, and wait for somebody to contact me with more funds but what am I supposed to do until then?” asked an unidentified woman who described herself as a voucher holder.Friday, WGNO News reported exclusive details about letters mailed to 7-hundred voucher holders.In them, HANO
explained a number of circumstances, including an over subscription of vouchers and budget cuts are causing recently issued vouchers to be withdrawn effective immediately; because HANO does not have sufficient federal funds to subsidize new housing at the current time, or the near future.“And I got three children, I done bought furniture for the
house and everything,” an unidentified single mother said.This week, those families are in a bind, because a number of them were about to move into their own home.The single mother said, “They got me stressed out.” “This my first time getting a voucher now y’all want to take it back.” “Like seriously!” “They did the inspection and everything.” “The only thing I had to do was contract signing and move me in the house. I got the keys, I got everything.”Now families who received a letter of withdrawal will go back on the waiting list.HANO Administrative Receiver, David Gilmore says there’s an important footnote.“No current voucher holders are going to lose their assistance,” Gilmore said. “Nobody needs to worry about that and there are 17-thousand of them out there in New Orleans.”But calls into the WGNO newsroom suggest
that is not entirely so.It’s why the unidentified voucher holder was shedding real tears.She said, “Six months I have been in the house and now I gotta move out that’s not fair, it’s not fair.”After six years on the waiting list, the mother of three says going back on the list means going back to sleeping where ever she can.“That’s like I’m homeless, going from house to house.” “I need my own house.”Gilmore says the situation has become dire for potential renters because a number of landlords violated HANO rules by allowing families to move-in before they were supposed to.Under HANO rules all move-ins are subject to inspections and signed contracts.Gilmore says the agency is in the process of
working on a case-by-case basis with families who followed the rules and were steps away from moving into their home.Others will be placed back on the waiting list in their original order.HANO says they will however be first to come off the list when additional funding is available.
>>>>>>>>>>>>(Pennsylvania)Sequestration to affect Tioga-Bradford Housing Authority
March 26, 2013
By CHERYL R. CLARKE (cclarke@...) , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
Click below for full story...
MANSFIELD - The Tioga-Bradford Housing Authority will not escape cuts from the federal government's sequestration action, which starts Oct. 1, authority executive director Kelley Cevette said.
The authority will see cuts to its allocations for its three service areas, including a decrease to 81 percent of past allocations.
In other areas, Cevette said, such as rental assistance, the authority will receive 94 percent current amount and 69 percent for administration costs to operate the program.
"A quick calculation amounts to roughly $300,000 will be cut over the course of the year, so when we looked at how we can function more efficiently, we looked at that figure," she said.
Sequestration adds to Housing Authority’s woes
By Bob Okon bokon@... March 26, 2013 7:22PM
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Sequestration problems have doubled the troubles of the Housing Authority of Joliet.
HAJ was labeled a “troubled” housing agency in October by federal regulators who wanted, among other things, to see more reserve funds in the bank accounts.
Before HAJ coud build up its savings, it got another notice from the federal government. Funding for Joliet will be cut by nearly $900,000 because of the federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, initiated earlier this month.
HAJ did not know the full impact of the sequestration cuts last week when it sent a layoff warning to employees. At the time, interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Simelton said HAJ would lose at least $500,000 but was still calculating the full costs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had notified HAJ that it would cut back on the percentage it pays for residents’ rent. That means HAJ has to make up the difference between what HUD pays and what tenants are required to pay under federal guidelines.
HAJ set the budget for its seven public housing projects with the expectation of nearly $3.9 million in annual federal funding. Now, it expects to get less than $3 million.
>>>>>(New Orleans - More than 700 people are losing Section 8 vouchers)
HANO Withdraws Hundreds Of Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Darian Trotter - March 22, 2013
Some housing hopefuls are about to get some unpleasant news.
After long waits, and finally receiving Section 8 housing vouchers, hundreds of families will soon find out they’re being placed back on the waiting list.
Darian Trotter reports on the exclusive details.
“No it don’t surprise me,” tenant Keanca Doucet said. “Nothing surprises me that goes on back here with HANO; nothing.”
She’s frustrated, to say the least, with the Housing Authority of New Orleans.
And given HANO’s recent move she can expect company.
More than 700 families who’ve recently received Section 8 housing vouchers are finding out that they will have to get back in line and wait all over again.
How could this happen? “It’s because of budget cuts and because HANO is currently not able to subsidize those vouchers,” HANO Public Information Officer Leslie Thomas said.
In a letter being mailed to applicants this weekend, HANO explains a number of circumstances, including an over subscription of vouchers and budget cuts are causing recently issued vouchers to be withdrawn effective immediately.
HANO does not have sufficient federal funds to subsidize additional apartments; at the current time, or the near future.
“It’s important for me to say the 17,000, plus families who are on the Section 8 program that are currently being assisted and currently have subsidized vouchers are not being effected in any way,” Thomas explained.
In other words, only the 700 families who were in the process of finally finding Section 8 housing will have to be placed back on the waiting list in their original order.
WGNO News has learned some of the applicants had been waiting for as long as 4 years.
“I think it’s wrong, just like I said the first time,” HANO voucher holder Doris Dawson said. “That’s not right at all, you know, “What are those people going to do?”
Back at the soon to be demolished Iberville Housing Projects, help from HANO to move out has been slow.
Remaining families have to be out by April 5th.
Trotter asked, “What are you going to do? Aint nothing to do but wait,” Doucet said. “They have to put me out cuz I ain’t leaving; I don’t have no money.”
WGNO News has learned families already receiving assistance take priority.
“We have to wait, so they have to wait.”
In the letter applicants will receive between Saturday and Monday — HANO apologizes for any disruption or disappointment the withdrawal will cause.
Sequestration cuts Huntsville Housing Authority by 5 percent, CEO Michael Landy said
on March 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM, updated March 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Click below for full story...
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Sequestration has hit the Huntsville Housing Authority by wiping out about 5 percent of its budget for 2014, executive director and CEO Michael Lundy said today.
The housing authority commission today approved a $10.1 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year that begins April 1. Lundy told the commission, however, that the across-the-board federal budget cuts - known as sequestration - cost HHA about $1.6 million.
Following the meeting, Lundy said the authority is operating on about 76 percent of the budget it needs.
"We are estimating we're going to lose about $1.6 million," said Lundy, adding that sequestration is responsible for cutting the HHA budget by about 5 percent. "What that means for our program is we won't be able to serve as many people."
Lundy said that, as a result of the cuts, the housing authority will be serving "about 300 less people than we currently serve now" as part of the federal Section 8 housing voucher program.
>>>>>>>(Santa Clara County, CA.)
Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara Confirms $21 Million Cut in Section 8 Funding Will Bring Hardship to County's Poorest Families
1,500 households in Santa Clara County may lose their housing this year due to a $21 million cut from the HACSC Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
Click below for full story...
LOCAL HOUSING AID SUSPENDED BECAUSE OF SEQUESTER CUTS
By Roger Showley12:01 a.m.March 25, 2013
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Lost in the recent sequester battle in Washington is the hope of more than 30,000 low-income San Diegans to get federal rent relief after years of waiting.
While current aid recipients are not affected, future beneficiaries face more than a year of delay.
When Congress failed to reverse the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts ordered under the 2011 sequestration budget legislation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development advised local housing authorities to cut 5 percent from this year’s Housing Choice Vouchers, or Section 8, program.
Rick Gentry, chief executive officer of the San Diego Housing Commission, said that cut translates locally into nearly $7.4 million deducted from this year’s allocation of $147.5 million. Other housing authorities in the county face similar reductions.
At $850 per month in average rent support, that means 723 families who will not be served by the housing commission, at least for the time being.
“The effect of the sequester will not be abrupt here — it will not be catastrophic and there will be no families receiving a subsidy harmed or affected at all, at least initially,” Gentry said.
There are 14,626 households currently receiving aid, and their vouchers are secure, Gentry said.
Every month, about 50 vouchers are relinquished as recipients move, die or no longer need assistance. Typically, the vouchers are then transferred to the applicants at the top of the 30,000-person waiting list, who in some cases have waited seven years or longer to get aid.
But since Jan. 1, Gentry said, no new vouchers have been granted because of the sequester. That moratorium will likely continue for 14½ months, into early 2014, assuming the sequester isn’t repealed and further budget cuts aren’t adopted.
>>>>>>>Federal Cuts Mean Local Housing Authorities Face Budget Reductions
By JESSE LEAVENWORTH and SUZANNE CARLSON, leavenworth@...
The Hartford Courant
March 24, 2013
Click below for full story...
The effects of federal budget cuts are hitting home.
The $85 billion in mandatory cuts known as the sequester is hacking into housing authority budgets throughout the state and shrinking the value of Section 8
vouchers that poor
people use to pay the bulk of their rent.
Waiting lists for the scarce and valuable vouchers will remain long, and housing advocates say some needy people could be pushed into homelessness.
So-called "housing choice vouchers" are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which estimates the cuts will affect about 125,000 families in the nation.
"It's a horrible situation for us. It's causing a lot of undue stress around here, I'll tell you that," Vernon Housing Authority Executive Director Jeffrey Arn said. "We work all year to help as many people as we can, and we had our program running just how we wanted it — we were actually growing the program a little bit — and now we're going to take a huge hit."
HUD has told housing authority executives to expect 94 percent of the amount they were to get in housing assistance payments, which go to poor tenants and landlords who rent subsidized apartments. HUD has also said that the fees housing authorities receive for administering those payments will be cut by about 31 percent, forcing the agencies to make tough decisions. Some directors say they may have to remove people from the program.
The nonprofit Connecticut Housing Coalition has already heard from people whose recently awarded vouchers were rescinded, agency Executive Director Betsy Crum said. Thousands of people in the state are on waiting lists to get Section 8 aid, Crum said.
Sequestration cuts having impact on public aid agencies
Published March 23, 2013
By Sue Guinn Legg - Press Staff Writer
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Richard McClain, Johnson City Housing Authority executive director, said HUD funding for both public housing and Section 8 rent vouchers administered by the JCHA were both reduced by 10 percent for March. April’s funding for the authority’s Section 8 vouchers restored that 10 percent cut and April’s funding for public housing has not yet been allocated.
McClain said HUD apparently made the March cuts in anticipation of sequestration and he speculated the federal housing agency “rolled over” unspent funding from its 2012 budget to make up for the March sequestration cut to Section 8.
>>>>>>>(County of Los Angeles)
Federal sequester hits home for many of L.A.'s poor
By Christina Villacorte, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/21/2013 09:35:32 PM PDT
Updated: 03/21/2013 09:41:37 PM PDT
Tens of thousands of Los Angeles County's low-income renters could see a loss in their housing subsidy because of the federal sequester, leading to higher rent payments and a spike in homelessness, according to local officials.
City and county officials are in Washington D.C. this week lobbying to try to soften the blow of the cuts, pushing for permission to increase rents so they don't have to throw most recipients off the program altogether.
"This is absolutely going to hurt the most vulnerable people in LA county," said Sean Rogan, who heads the L.A. County housing authority, HACoLA.
Among those most vulnerable are people like Sylvia Juarez, a 39-year-old single mother of six, who has been on Section 8 housing subsidies for a year, receiving $1,825 in assistance for a three-bedroom Panorama City apartment after escaping an abusive relationship.
Juarez can work only part-time as a hairdresser because her two youngest children have health problems, but she found out last week that she would have to pay $100 more in rent each month, doubling the amount she pays out of her own pocket.
"With six kids, that would definitely make a big impact," she said while seeking help at the emergency food bank at MEND-Meet Each Need with Dignity, in Pacoima.
"It's going to be a struggle but I need the housing, so I have to figure out a way to get that money," she added. "I have no choice."
Rogan and Douglas Guthrie, who heads the city authority, HACLA, are meeting with federal housing officials and members of Congress this week.
"(The sequester) brings funding for public housing and Section 8 programs down to the lowest level in their history," Guthrie pointed out.
"Los Angeles has the largest homeless population in the U.S.," he added. "We've put a lot of resources into addressing that, and made progress, but much of it will be lost because of these enormous cuts."
He said the sequester slashed funding for HACoLA's Section 8 program by about $15 million this year.
It has already prevented him from issuing 300 vouchers that would have provided poor families and individuals with an average of $890 in rent money each month.
In October, Rogan said, he may also be forced to terminate vouchers held by 500 to 1,800 households.
Trying to prevent that, he met repeatedly with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials this week, seeking authority to have all of HACoLA's 22,000 voucher holders pay more toward their rent.
"I'm effectively asking HUD to allow me to increase all my voucher holders' rent payments by about 5 percent - which is the sequestration amount - so I don't have to terminate anybody," Rogan said. "Spread the pain."
"If it comes down to us having to terminate vouchers, we've exempted seniors, the homeless and our special needs population," he added. "We would terminate those who've been on the program the longest and have received the greatest benefit."
HACLA, on the other hand, is poised to notify 24,000 of its 45,000 voucher holders next week that they may have to pay $100-$200 more toward their rent each month.
The increase - which is more than 5 percent - will not kick in for everyone at once. Voucher holders will be hit with the new rates when they recertify their eligibility for the program.
Guthrie said the hike is needed because HACLA's Section 8 program will lose $40 million this year. He worries, however, that many won't be able to afford it.
Those who qualify for vouchers are typically disabled, seniors, veterans and extremely low-income families and individuals who subsist on less than $14,000 a year.
Section 8 was intended to help them spend only 30 percent of their household income on rent.
"For a family paying $200 in rent to see that rate go up, all of a sudden, to $300 a month - that's, at the very least, extremely disruptive and we're very concerned," Guthrie said.
"Those who can't afford it may have to find another place that charges less rent, or move in with family and friends," he added. "Ultimately, it's pushing people out of the system and potentially into homelessness."
Larry Gross, executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, a tenants' rights organization, called the sequester a "one-two punch to the gut of low-income people."
"It's sort of like an economic tsunami, and the impact is going t<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)