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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Funding cuts hurt housing

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Last year was less of a headache for Max Johnson.

The Executive Director of the Greencastle Housing Authority had the opportunity to maintain money for the organization's Section 8 program.

This year, however, may be quite different.

On Feb. 8, Johnson informed the Housing Authority Board of Directors that money the local program receives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was cut by 3.7 percent from last year's totals.

"Obviously, it's disappointing," Johnson said. "It frustrates the clients, and you're in the business to help people.

"It's an unpleasant trend that we hope turns around. Everybody's unhappy about it."

Johnson said the program received a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) of $560,488 last year, which is used in equal amounts monthly.

However, the local program used only $554,307.50 of that money last year -- which Johnson said was nearly 99 percent -- and HUD recently informed the Housing Authority it would receive only $539,755 this year.

"The trend isn't pretty," Johnson said. "It means less people get served."

Johnson said in the past, HUD funded the program per unit. However, it now funds per a flat amount.

Last year, Johnson said the program was funded for 184 units. However, he figured the program could only fund 170 units per month this year.

Because of the change in funding, Johnson said the local program will have to slow down on handing out vouchers.

"This year, we're taking another big cut," he said.

Through February, the program is already in the red by more than $3,000, giving Johnson reason to worry. There were 181 units leased through Thursday while 175 were leased in January.

But he said the program will continue regardless of the cuts.

"We will do what we can," he said. "But it's simply going to mean less people. There's no more room."

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