Federal cuts to impact local Section 8 housing

The Fresno Housing Authority will see a reduction of $8 million in funding from HUD due to federal sequester cuts.The Fresno Housing Authority will see a reduction of $8 million in funding from HUD due to federal sequester cuts.The Fresno Housing Authority announced it is facing a significant budget shortfall during the 2013 fiscal year as a result of across-the-board sequester cuts to most federal programs.

The agency will see a reduction of more than $8 million in funding received by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than $4 million of the reduction is funding that directly supports the Section 8 housing program, which provides housing assistance to extremely-low-income families with children, seniors and veterans.

The agency said in a release that it expects 600 families to lose services in the coming year due to these specific cuts. The housing authority does have reserves available, so it does not expect to terminate current families from the voucher program like many housing authorities are doing across the country. Funding reductions will instead be managed through attrition.

The agency said it has been operating underfunded for years, and with sequestration in place since March 1, it is looking to tighten its belt even more. Services that may be affected include property inspection delays and repairs to public housing units.

“The Fresno Housing Authority Boards of Commissioners have been proactive in taking various measures to reduce program costs in order to maximize assistance to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Preston Prince, executive director and CEO of the Fresno Housing Authority. “Some of these measures include not filling vacant positions, providing retirement incentives and reducing overall agency costs and expenses across the board.”