Monday, April 8, 2013

Associated Press: What Can Be Said About Mental Illness In Media Reports?

Entry on mental illness is added to AP Stylebook

March 7, 2013
The Associated Press today added an entry on mental illness to the AP Stylebook.

“It is the right time to address how journalists handle questions of mental illness in coverage,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. “This isn’t only a question of which words one uses to describe a person’s illness. There are important journalistic questions, too.

“When is such information relevant to a story? Who is an authoritative source for a person’s illness, diagnosis and treatment? These are very delicate issues and this Stylebook entry is intended to help journalists work through them thoughtfully, accurately and fairly.”

The entry, which was immediately added to the AP Stylebook Online and will appear in the new print edition and Stylebook Mobile, published in the spring, reads as follows:

mental illness
Do not describe an individual as mentally ill unless it is clearly pertinent to a story and the diagnosis is properly sourced.

When used, identify the source for the diagnosis. Seek firsthand knowledge; ask how the source knows. Don’t rely on hearsay or speculate on a diagnosis. Specify the time frame for the diagnosis and ask about treatment. A person’s condition can change over time, so a diagnosis of mental illness might not apply anymore. Avoid anonymous sources. On-the-record sources can be family members, mental health professionals, medical authorities, law enforcement officials and court records. Be sure they have accurate information to make the diagnosis. Provide examples of symptoms.

Mental illness is a general condition. Specific disorders are types of mental illness and should be used whenever possible: He was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to court documents. She was diagnosed with anorexia, according to her parents. He was treated for depression.

Some common mental disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (mental illnesses or disorders are lowercase, except when known by the name of a person, such as Asperger’s syndrome):

- Autism spectrum disorders. These include Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism. Many experts consider autism a developmental disorder, not a mental illness.
- Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness)
- Depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizophrenia

Here is a link from the National Institute of Mental Health that can be used as a reference:

Do not use derogatory terms, such as insane, crazy/crazed, nuts or deranged, unless they are part of a quotation that is essential to the story.

Do not assume that mental illness is a factor in a violent crime, and verify statements to that effect. A past history of mental illness is not necessarily a reliable indicator. Studies have shown that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, and experts say most people who are violent do not suffer from mental illness.

Avoid unsubstantiated statements by witnesses or first responders attributing violence to mental illness. A first responder often is quoted as saying, without direct knowledge, that a crime was committed by a person with a “history of mental illness.” Such comments should always be attributed to someone who has knowledge of the person’s history and can authoritatively speak to its relevance to the incident.

Avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with, suffers from or victim of. Rather, he has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Double-check specific symptoms and diagnoses. Avoid interpreting behavior common to many people as symptoms of mental illness. Sadness, anger, exuberance and the occasional desire to be alone are normal emotions experienced by people who have mental illness as well as those who don’t.

Wherever possible, rely on people with mental illness to talk about their own diagnoses.

Avoid using mental health terms to describe non-health issues. Don’t say that an awards show, for example, was schizophrenic.

Use the term mental or psychiatric hospital, not asylum.

See Asperger’s syndrome; disabled, handicapped; phobia; post-traumatic stress disorder.
About AP
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Santa Cruz FNB Chapter Welcomes Keith McHenry Back This Spring ~~ May All Be Fed!

PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: A Peek from the Inside by Becky Johnson

Wasting Away in Santa Cruz County Jail
-- or Dying There?

by HUFF's Becky Johnson

Her Speech at Santa Cruz County Jail during Protest of Jail Conditions and Deaths of Four Inmates since Medical Services in Santa Cruz County's Jails were Outsourced to save money by privatizing. 
When President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office in 1961, he warned "Beware the Military-Industrial Complex". Today, it's "Beware the Prison-Industrial Complex."

For prisons today have become big business in a country where manufacturing generally is suffering & unemployment rates are high.
Santa Cruz County is no exception.
For a jail to be profitable, it must be full. Nevermind that it's paid for with taxpayer dollars. Our electeds & appointeds don't care. For them, it is a job security program for police, judges, bailiffs, deputies, file clerks, probation officers and attorneys.
I myself have been fodder for this system with my "criminal" career:
I am a convicted sidewalk hopscotch chalker, criminal songster, & in the case of the Santa Cruz Eleven, (an accused scapegoat and) a suspected sign-holder & blogger.
But what I want to talk about to you today is the criminalization of homelessness.
Currently in liberal, progressive Santa Cruz it is illegal to sit on a sidewalk less than 14 feet from a building. It's illegal to sit on a park bench with your feet up.
The Sleeping Ban, MC 6.36.010 section a, outlaws the act of sleeping anywhere out of doors or in a vehicle between the hours of 11PM & 8:30AM within the City Limits.
A separate provision outlaws the use of a blanket between 11PM - 8:30AM out of doors.
Hacky-sacking, hopscotching, and tossing your car keys to your husband are illegal acts on Pacific Ave., the shopping-Mecca where all the City Councilmembers friends have stores.
Let me tell you about Gary Johnson, a homeless man, and an activist. Gary was 4 times within 3 days for BEING on the County property in front of the Court House after 7PM. He was charged with trespassing.
When he pointed out that he had a sign which said "A legacy of Cruelty MC 6.36.010 a, PC 647 ( e ) "and that the trespassing code has an exception for "traditional public forums," the DA turned
around and charged him with misdemeanor illegal lodging.
He was sentenced to 2 years in jail
for these 4 acts of sleeping. Recently he lost his appeal of the sentence before Judges Symons & Burdick.
What homeless person can pay a fine of $162 for sleeping in a cardboard box? None of them. And the authorities
know this. But, they can bill you and me for the salary of the police officer who cited or arrested them. They bill
for the time the officer spends in court. They bill for any public defender, but with most infraction crimes, the
person charged has no right to one.
This jail is full of homeless people! And many who were marginally housed when they were arrested, will be homeless upon their release.
The Drug War fuels many of these arrests. So do mandatory minimums and the 3-Strikes law.
But we could cut down on a HUGE amount of local incarceration if we repealed a whole-host of laws
which frankly are selectively enforced against the poor and homeless.
When I spent the night here in "G" Dorm in County Jail, I met women there who should NOT have been there. There was one woman, so mentally-challenged that the other inmates had to tell her to put her underwear on. One mother of four with chronic intractable pain from a car accident, was jailed for the crime of supplementing her inadequate pain relief with heroin.
In jail, despite a known diagnosis of chronic intractable pain due to past injury, for which she had been treated with addictive pain medications, she was forced to quit "Cold Turkey". Her only relief were hot showers. One day, in serious pain, she was pulled from an "unauthorized" shower dripping wet & thrown into an icy holding cell. While in there, she watched as deputies watched "prison porn" on their monitors where women prisoners were tormented & sexually abused.
Another woman was serving 3 months of a 6-month sentence for assault when she herself was assaulted by three women in Jade Street Park after hours. The women beat her over the head with a frying pan (she showed me the scar on the top of her head). They stole her laptop computer. As they fled the park, she called 911 on her cellphone. Police and an ambulance arrived while the three women were still in the area. Terry, the only injured person, was sent to the hospital.
She was arrested in the emergency ward. The three women had convinced the police that Terry had attacked THEM!
When by pure chance, her brother's room-mate was able to buy her laptop back (the smoking gun) the DA ignored it.
Since she was still charged with felony assault, Terry was forced to plea "no contest" to a misdemeanor. Judge Ariadne Symons okayed that one.
Another form of abuse is the arbitrary nature of what charges are filed and what the how much bail is set. When Gabriella Ripley-Phipps was arrested in December of 2011 for basically protesting the destruction of the Occupy Santa Cruz encampment, she was charged with "obstructing an officer" and bail was set at $25,000. When shooting suspect, Jeremy Goulet was arrested for breaking into his female co-workers home and sexually assaulting her in her own bed, his bail was set at $250.
In the case of Kenneth Massei, the man who was falsely arrested for stealing flowers from the memorial for the 2 slain police officers, bail was set at $5000. He was forced to spend 18 days in jail here until his attorney showed the receipt for the flowers that he had in his possession when he was first jailed.
Isaac Collins, the only person arrested last year at the UCSC 420 event, was jailed here for 82 grams of chocolate & butterscotch brownies that tested positive for marijuana. Collins is black. The deputy that arrested him said he picked Collins out of the large crowd of pretty much all-day law-breaking because "he was wearing a very colorful shirt."
So in conclusion, we need to End the Drug War! End the war on the poor! End mandatory minimums! End 3-Strikes! Repeal the Sleeping Ban, Blanket Ban, and laws which were written and are enforced specifically to be used against homeless people.
Justice demands that we don't stop until this work is done.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 10th: Public Health, Drugs, Needle Exchange ~~ April 24: Homelessness and Home Town ~~ All Welcome

Santa Cruz Forums on
Community Safety and Compassion
This message is from Peter Klotz-Chamberlin
of Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz
Please come, and please spread the word…
Drugs, Public Health
and Needle Exchange
Wednesday, April 10 at 7 PM:
*Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, Inner Light Ministries
*Craig Reinarman, UCSC Professor of Sociology
*Giang Nguyen, Director, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency
*Alex Kral, Director, Urban Health Program, San Francisco
*Personal narratives
at Santa Cruz High School Theater, 415 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
Homelessness and our Home Town
at Santa Cruz High School Theater, 415 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz
Wednesday, April 24 at 7 PM

All Welcome! Admission free.
Donations welcome for hall rental. FMI: contact  831-423-1626
Cosponsored by:
Resource Center for Nonviolence
Community Action Board
Charter for Compassion
Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center
First Congregational Church of Santa Cruz
Peoples’ Democratic Club
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Peter Klotz-Chamberlin

Help Poor Peoples' Attorney Lynn Stewart Gain Compassionate Release from Unjust Prison Sentence, Due to Her Critical Cancer-related Needs



APRIL 4, 2013

I hereby declare on this day commemorating the life and sacrifice of my friend and brother in struggle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that in the spirit of his moral legacy, I demand the immediate release from prison of the legendary lawyer Lynne Stewart, who devoted her entire professional life to the poor, the oppressed and those targeted by the police and a vindictive State.

" time to lose," says 60s Icon Dick Gregory

I further declare that from this day forth, I shall refuse all solid food until Lynne Stewart is freed and receives medical treatment in the care of her family and with physicians of her choice without which she will die.
There is no time to lose as cancer, which had been in remission, has metastasized since her imprisonment. It has spread to her lymph nodes, her shoulder and appears in her bones and in her lungs.

A criminal defense attorney in New York for over 30 years, Lynne Stewart’s unwavering dedication as a selfless advocate was acknowledged by the community as well as judges, prosecutors and the entire legal profession. Such has been her reputation as a fearless lawyer, ready to challenge those in power, that judges assigned her routinely to act for defendants whom no attorney was willing to represent.
In 2002, Lynne Stewart was targeted by then-President George Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft for providing a vigorous defense of her client, the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman. She was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist activity after she exercised both her and her client’s first amendment rights by presenting a press release to a Reuters journalist. She did nothing more than other attorneys, such as her co-counsel former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, have done on behalf of their clients.
The reason for the prosecution and persecution of Lynne Stewart is evident to us all. It was designed to intimidate the entire legal community so that few would dare to defend political clients whom the State demonizes and none would provide a vigorous defense. It also was designed to narrow the meaning of our cherished first amendment right to free speech, which the people of this country struggled to have added to the Constitution as the Bill of Rights.
The prosecution and imprisonment of Lynne Stewart is an ominous threat to the freedom, rights and dignity of each and every American. It is the agenda of a police state.
I ask you to join with me to demand freedom for Lynne Stewart. An international campaign has been launched with a petition that supports her application for compassionate release. Under the 1984 Sentencing Act, the Bureau of Prisons can file a motion with the Court to reduce sentences “for extraordinary and compelling reasons.” Life threatening illness is foremost among these and Lynne Stewart meets every rational and humane criterion for compassionate release.
Join with me, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pete Seeger and 6,000 other people of conscience throughout the world who have signed this petition to compel the Warden of the Federal Medical Center, Carswell and the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to act. Act now. There is no time to lose.

The petition (below) can be found online at the Justice for Lynne Stewart website:

Contacts: Lil Gregory at 508.746.7427 to schedule interviews with Dick Gregory and Ralph Schoenman at 707.552.9992 for follow up information on Dick Gregory and the Campaign to Save the Life of Lynne Stewart.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seqestration: Federal Government Accellerates New Homelessness

Housing News Update: Sequestration Cuts Impact On Housing Programs

Lynda Carson

Monday, March 25, 2013

See below for the latest impact of Sequestration cuts on housing programs
(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...
(San Diego)
By Roger Showley12:01 a.m.March 25, 2013
Click below for full story...

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
The Hartford Courant
March 24, 2013
Click below for full story...,0,477223.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

Click below for full story...

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
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 to be on the most vulnerable," he added. "The Section 8 cuts are essentially making them walk the plank, and many will fall."
HACLA's Section 8 program director Peter Lynn said the agency is reaching out to landlords to see if they can negotiate rents downward, but he conceded this might be difficult.
On top of the cuts to their Section 8, public housing, and other programs, HACoLA and HACLA will also have to endure cuts to their administrative budgets - which means layoffs and furloughs for their already depleted staffs effective this month.
Guthrie said HACLA could shed as many as 80 employees, bringing its staff down to about 700 - only half as many as it had four years ago. Rogan said HACoLA eliminated 66 positions last year, and could lose more this year.
Worried about the sequester, Supervisor Don Knabe asked the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to urge Washington D.C. officials to protect the county's safety net.
"Our leaders at the federal level must come to agreement on a balanced, sensible budget," he said. "We don't need more rhetoric - we need compromise and thoughtful solutions."

(Kokomo, Indiana)
Housing authority doing more with less
Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:00 am

Click below for full story...

There are 1,225 subsidized or fully provided public housing units in Kokomo. That is a lot of people relying upon government for one of their primary needs. The Kokomo Housing Authority (KHA) provides the facilities and administers the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds that make it possible.

With the arrival of sequestration, the KHA will have to do more with a lot less.

According to KHA executive director Debra Cook, her organization took a 20-percent cut in funding in public housing dollars as well as in Section 8 administration funding. And she has no idea if this is temporary or if it will get better or worse in coming months.

“Our budget was approved for 2013, but in January we got 92 percent of what was approved,” said Cook. “In March, we got 81 percent in public housing funds. We don’t know if this is temporary, or if that is going to be the standard for the rest of the year. It’s hard to do long-range planning and projects when you’re not sure how the funding is going to fall.

“We have Section 8 vouchers as well, and we got 80 percent of the approved budget there. We’re getting hit in public housing and in administration.”

Cook explained that there was no warning that the cuts would hit or how deep they would be. HUD sends a letter each month indicating the funding that will be provided, and that letter often arrives after the month has begun. Even the HUD office in Indianapolis was left in the dark on the sequestration impact until it arrived.

Monterey County housing authority also faces sequestration cuts
Herald Staff Writer
Posted: 03/21/2013 05:14:21 PM PDT
Updated: 03/21/2013 05:14:21 PM PDT

Click below for full story...

A service that thousands of county residents rely on will also be hit by federal sequestration cuts.
The Housing Authority of Monterey County said this week it will lose roughly $850,000 in federal money and are unsure what its final budget will be for the rest of the year.
"We're operating in the blind," said Lynn Santos, the authority's finance director.
About $30 million goes into the county each year by way of Section 8 funds — money given to landlords for individuals who need assistance paying rent.
Santos said cuts could mean the current number of tenants it gives assistance to — 3,700 county residents — would be reduced and the already large waiting list would grow.
"Clearly cuts of this size are not sustainable when you consider that the 2014 budget could include additional cuts," she said.
The only thing the authority knows for sure is 31 percent of its Section 8 administration fees, which primarily pays for its 82-person staff and office expenses, will be cut.
The amount for administration this is $2.8 million, but Santos warns that number could lower when they get a 2013 budget from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.
HUD also gives the housing authority $550,00 for public housing units and $367,000 for its Pueblo Del Mar project at Fort Ord.

(Joliet, Illinois)
Housing Authority of Joliet could be hit by sequestration cuts
By Bob Okon March 21, 2013 6:38PM

Updated: March 21, 2013 10:23PM

The Housing Authority of Joliet has warned workers of possible layoffs because of the impact of the sequestration budget cuts in the federal government.
The cuts amount to at least $500,000, said Interim Chief Executive Officer Michael Simelton. But it could be much more after the total impact is calculated, he said.
Management will meet with unions to determine if there are alternatives to layoffs, Simelton said.
One alternative sought by management, he said, would be for employees to begin paying something toward health insurance premiums. Workers now do not make a contribution toward health insurance, he said.
And, Simelton said, “There are going to have to be some furloughs.”
The federal cuts are coming in the form of housing subsidies. The government sets formulas based on income to determine how much residents pay for public housing. The remainder of the money is supplied by the housing authority, and most of it comes from the federal government.
But the government has notified the housing authority that subsidies for public housing are going down to 73 percent of what the tenant does not pay, Simelton said. That percentage had been at 92 percent.
For Section 8 housing, the federal subsidy will go down to 69 percent. It had been at 80 percent, Simelton said.

Massive sequestration budget cuts will shred the housing safety net

By Lynda Carson - March 1, 2013

Click below for full story...

100 El Paso families lose Section 8 housing aid
Posted: 03/21/2013 12:00:00 AM MDT
Click below for full story...
Because of federal budget cuts, the El Paso Housing Authority says it is dropping 100 families from its Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program effective March 31.
Those families will be allowed to move into public housing.
Letters notifying the 100 families who live in private housing and their landlords went out March 1. They were signed by Gerald Cichon, CEO of the El Paso Housing Authority.
"Between now and December 2013, an additional 200 housing choice vouchers will be cut through attrition," the authority said Wednesday in a statement. "This means that as families naturally leave the HCV Program, the vouchers will not be reissued to the families on the HCV wait list."
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program permits families to receive subsidy vouchers that they can use to live in homes or apartments belonging to landlords who participate in the program. The average monthly HCV-Section 8 subsidy is $504, and it can range from $20 to $700 per family, depending on the size and income of the family.
Shane Griffith, spokesman for the authority, said 5,200 families and 1,900 landlords are in the program.
Griffith stressed that none of the 100 families who are being dropped from the HCV/Section 8 program will be turned out into the street. In selecting which families to drop first, Griffith said the authority is following its policy of terminating those who've been in a program the longest.
[[[The authority manages one of the largest affordable housing programs in the nation for low-income families. It has a $75 million budget, about 450 employees, 6,500 public housing units, and 5,300 Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers.]]]

(Iowa - March 20, 2013)
Federal cuts hit home

MUSCATINE, Iowa —If you’re one of the families that needs Section 8 housing, sequestration has more than likely just pulled up the “welcome” mat.
That’s the most acute effect that across-the-board spending cuts are having on local government — namely, at the Muscatine Municipal Housing Agency.
“We are 99 percent federally funded,” said Dick Yerington, the city’s housing administrator. “These are the worst cuts we’ve seen in 35 years. It’s not a pretty thing.”
Yerington said he’s already trimmed $162,000 — about 7 percent of his department’s $2,205,400 budget — for the 2013 calendar year. About half those cuts — $83,000 — are in Section 8 housing assistance payments.
Currently, 364 low-income families are in the program, Yerington said, but the cuts will mean that, through attrition, only about 340 families can be served.
[[[Reducing the Section 8 payment standard for two-bedroom and larger units, which the city council will consider during its meeting this evening]]]

Orange Housing Authority braces for cuts
March 20, 2013

The Orange Housing Authority is bracing for what could be a bumpy ride as they look to the future to determine what cuts may come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Through communications with HUD, the Orange Housing authority has learned they could see an eight percent cut to their public housing funding and a six percent cut on Section 8 funding.
As a precaution, OHA officials have already implemented a plan. They are not issuing any new vouchers and the list to get on public housing has been closed since July.

(Street Spirit Newspaper)
Sequestration Will Shred the Housing Safety Net

By Lynda Carson - March 2013

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Worcester loses $675,000 in federal funds

By Nick Kotsopoulos TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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WORCESTER — Several local programs that receive federal funds through the city are facing reductions in their allocations for the final quarter of this fiscal year because of federal budget sequestration.

Since the cuts will have to be implemented over just a three-month period, City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said they will have a four times greater impact on programs than had the cuts been made at the beginning of the year.

Automatic, across-the-board spending reductions triggered by sequestration are expected to amount to an 8.2 percent cut in federal funding coming to the city, he said.

The manager said that would equate to more than $675,000 cuts to the following programs: community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership, Emergency Solutions Grant, Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, and Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control.

The programs that will be affected by the funding cuts include food pantries, affordable housing programs, after-school programs, social service case management and homelessness prevention, he said

Federal sequestration fallout affecting GHA funding issues

Monday, March 18, 2013

Greencastle Banner-Graphic

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On March 1, sequestration went into effect, and government agencies across the nation began feeling the backlash.

The Greencastle Housing Authority (GHA) is one those agencies. Housing Authorities across the nation are losing significant funding to operate their agencies.

On March 8, HUD sent letters to all Housing Authorities informing them that administrative funding would be cut to 68.5 percent, and Housing Assistance Payments would be cut to 94 percent.

This means that GHA will receive fewer dollars in calendar year 2013, or only 68.5 percent of CY 2012 allocated funds, to operate the Voucher Program in Putnam County.

Due to GHA's current debt to HUD, resulting from operation of the previous A-Way Home Shelter, GHA is operating at a deficit and may be forced to only be open four days per week rather than the current five days.

That will mean that current clients on the Voucher Program may see fewer hours that they are able to come into the GHA office for assistance or to sign required HUD documents. Any persons currently on the Voucher Program do not need to worry about losing their voucher.

A public notice will go out if funding for Housing Assistance Payments is reduced further, GHA officials said.

Sequester could decrease public housing aid

Chillicothe Metropolitan Housing looking at possible 5 percent cut

Mar. 19, 2013 8:28 PM

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CHILLICOTHE — The federal sequester could affect the Chillicothe Metropolitan Housing Authority as the agency braces for 5 percent cuts that might result in a decrease in the number of families receiving assistance through its public housing program.

The CMHA provides rental assistance to low-income families as part of its Section 8 housing voucher program, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees. Cheryl Buck, Section 8 program manager for CMHA, said the program is funded to help 515 families and that a formula is used to determine the amount each family can receive.

However, she said the cuts could cause CMHA to serve 47 families fewer than expected.

Interest high, outlook bleak for Section 8

March 18. 2013 10:56PM

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The Luzerne County Housing Authority received 966 requests for Section 8 rental assistance during a recent 11-day window allowing residents to apply for the first time in two years.

Authority Executive Director David Fagula said new applicants should expect a lengthy wait for rental subsidy — in some cases years — because the federal government isn’t providing enough funding this year to cover people already in the program.

“The funding numbers don’t look good,” Fagula said.

The authority, which serves all county municipalities except for the four cities, is federally authorized to fill 1,115 Section 8 slots, but 81 aren’t being accessed by renters because of federal funding cuts, he said.

Rental subsidy for the 1,034 current participants will cost about $5.7 million this year, and the authority is projected to receive $5.5 million, Fagula said.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to call anyone new in for the rest of the year because we’re already spending more money than we’re expected to receive,” Fagula said.

The authority may be forced to eject some of the current participants later this year if nobody leaves the program, he said.

Other housing authorities throughout the country have been notifying Section 8 participants their rental subsidy might be cut off because of federal budget cuts.

Fagula said he opted to seek new applicants because residents had been banned from requesting service since March 2011, when 700 applications were received during a three-week enrollment period. He limited the latest enrollment to 11 days because he expected overwhelming response due to the economy.


HUD: Federal sequester will cause Illinois 4,500 fewer families to receive housing

BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter March 18, 2013 1:29AM

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Cuts to the Department of Housing & Urban Development have triggered dire consequences for the Housing Choice Voucher Program used by the Chicago Housing Authority to move thousands of families from areas of concentrated poverty into more diverse neighborhoods and suburbs.

Statewide, thousands who would have gotten vouchers this year from municipal and regional housing agencies, won’t get them — including up to 700 families on HACC’s list. Currently, HACC isn’t accepting applications for Section 8 vouchers.

And many who have already been awarded the elusive benefit — helping 2.1 million poor pay for housing nationwide, half of them elderly and disabled — may see themselves cut off.

Under the sequester, HUD says Illinois will lose $45.3 million in funding for the voucher program — equating to 4,592 fewer families statewide receiving them this year.

Illinois also will lose $4.9 million in homeless assistance; $2.1 million in funding for affordable housing development; and $372,000 in funding of housing for people with AIDS.

Final numbers won’t be known until Congress approves a spending bill. And as of Thursday, no viable proposals were on the table to change the federal fiscal situation.

March 16, 2013
Officials tackle cuts in housing funds

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

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MERCER COUNTY — Mercer County Housing Authority can absorb the federal government’s sequestration cuts in all areas except one – the Housing Choice Voucher Program, said Executive Director Nannette Livadas.

And that could mean that there will be fewer Mercer County residents receiving federal subsidies to live in the homes and apartments owned by private landlords.

Officials are not sure how to handle the voucher fund administration cuts and are hoping the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will offer guidance.

“Running the program is getting a little difficult,” Livadas told the authority board Wednesday.

Allegheny County Housing Authority lays off 13
March 15, 2013 2:52 pm

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By Rich Lord / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a reaction to the federal budget reduction known as the sequester, the Allegheny County Housing Authority today laid off 13 people.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is only providing $10.3 million of the $13 million the authority needs to conduct normal operations, said Frank Aggazio, the county housing agency's executive director.

HUD is also providing only 68.5 percent of the money needed to run the Section 8 rent voucher program, he said.

As a result, the authority laid off three Section 8 counselors, one inspector, four assistant managers, two secretaries, one electrical inspector, one development inspector and a finance clerk, he said.


Webster Parish Community Services impacted by sequestration

Author: Tiffany Flournoy
Published On: Mar 15 2013 04:09:24 PM CDT

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WEBSTER PARISH, La.- The harsh winds created by the sequester are being felt by public programs and its employees in Webster Parish — Headstart, Section 8 Housing, and the Community Services Block Grant.
As a result of sequestration, the local Headstart program is experiencing a 5 percent reduction in funds.

Section 8’s funding is being cut by 6 percent, and the Community Services Block Grant is suffering a loss of 5 percent of its funding.

In Addition, Section 8 Housing has also taken a pounding. The 6 percent reduction in funds is directly affecting housing vouchers associated with the federally-funded program.
Under the voucher, a housing subsidy is paid by the Public Housing Authority on behalf of participating clients. The clients income is also factored into the amount paid out to the recipient each month.
“If an individual, who is using a voucher leaves the program, that voucher may go unfilled because of the cut in the budget,” Whitaker said. Additionally, Whitaker said her office will possibly be making rental adjustments as they review the income of voucher recipients.

(Monterey County, CA.)
Federal budget cuts threaten housing assistance programs
Mar. 14, 2013 4:51 PM

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Jean Goebel, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey, said her agency could face a 30 percent reduction in administrative funds and an 8 percent cut in housing assistance payments for public and Indian housing programs.

(Minden, LA)
Sequestration hits home


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While Congress' lack of action has yet to cause the loss of jobs and services to Webster Parish Community Services, it has caused portions of their funding to be reduced by five to six percent.
"The programs hardest hit by the cuts are Section 8 Housing and Head Start," said Mary Whitaker, director of Community Services. "These programs are still operational, but there will be changes."
Whitaker said Congress' sequestration has resulted in federal funds falling short in the 2013 budget.


Renton Housing Authority copes with federal budget cuts

Renton Reporter Staff writer 
MARCH 14, 2013 · 1:22 PM

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The Renton Housing Authority will shift resources around to cover any lack of federal support for its Section 8 housing assistance programs due to federal budget cuts.

"The surplus from non-federal programs will underwrite any loss from federal programs going forward to the extent the individual program reserves prove insufficient to cover operating and rent assistance costs," Mark Gropper, the agency's executive director.
The Renton Housing Authority is making plans for a more sustainable business model, with the Sunset Highlands Redevelopment project, in the wake of tumultuous federal budget cuts.

According to Gropper, the housing authority will be at about 92 percent of what it needs to operate its publicly subsidized housing budget in light of the federal sequester, or budget cuts.


Housing benefits slashed for hundreds of Vermonters
Posted: Mar 14, 2013 3:01 PM PDT

Updated: Mar 14, 2013 5:00 PM PDT

By Jennifer Reading
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"The fair market rents for 2013, they dropped drastically," said Claudia Donovan, the director of rental assistance at the Burlington Housing Authority.

Donovan says fair market rent is the amount the federal government says housing costs in the area.

In 2012, the feds said $896 would cover rent and utilities for a one-bedroom apartment in the greater Burlington area. This year that number dropped to $788. For families needing a three-bedroom, in 2012 the feds put the cost of rent and utilities at $1,439, but lowered that to $1,289 for 2013.

Killary found an efficiency. It's small and expensive, but it's a roof overhead. Others who need help will not be as lucky.

Sequestration is expected to take an additional toll on Section 8. The housing authority is preparing for a 6 percent funding cut, which means 100-150 people will lose their benefits.


Sequestration cuts slash SD housing subsidies

By Matthew Smith, 
Posted on 14 March 2013.

Sequestration is upon us. The $85 billion in federal budget cuts will hurt us locally in numerous ways. This region will obviously feel defense cuts because the U.S. Department of Defense is San Diego’s largest employer. However, cuts to vital social programs such as housing will hit local families hard.

KPBS reported all non-defense programs will receive an 8 percent budget cut because of sequestration. This will impact local programs such as the San Diego Housing Commission, which received more than $160 million to subsidize housing for families last year. The program gave vouchers to 14,600 families, with each receiving a monthly subsidy of $850. This may sound like a fat government subsidy for housing, but in a city where homes sell at an average of more than $620,000 and monthly mortgage payments vary between $3,000 to $5,000, they can provide a much-needed relief to keep housing affordable in San Diego. It’s also uncertain whether this specific program will be cut equally compared to the rest of the housing programs the sequester threatens. The commission also hasn’t decided if it will be forced to cut some families from the program or cut the subsidy equally for all families that benefit from it.

The housing commission isn’t the only local housing program threatened by the sequestration. San Diegans benefit from services for the homeless, assistance for first-time home buyers and a 4 or 9 percent tax credit for low-income families. All of these are threatened by federal budget cuts. The Section 8 subsidy, which already has a waitlist of more than 28,000 locally, also faces steep cuts.


Reserve draws, voucher freeze likely in DHA sequester response

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

By Ray Gronberg; 919-419-6648

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Durham Housing Authority officials plan to draw heavily on their agency’s financial reserves to blunt the impact of the budget cuts being handed down to them by the federal government’s “sequester” battle.

But the agency nonetheless will have to stop returning Section 8 rental vouchers to circulation after former clients turn theirs in. Given normal yearly turnover, the move could close the door to aid for about 187 families, DHA leaders said.

That translates into about a 7 percent reduction in the number of vouchers the agency intends to circulate. It has been serving some 2,734 families through the rental-assistance program.


Sequester cuts threaten thousands with homelessness

Updated: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 11:18 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 11:18 PM EDT

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - For people in Allen County who use Section 8 vouchers, the threat of homelessness could become very real as a result of the recent government spending cuts.
Last year the Department of Housing and Urban Development suffered $1 billion in government cuts. That caused local agencies to reach into their emergency reserve funds to keep business operating for the remainder of the year.

Now, the sequestration cuts that went into affect earlier this month come as a second blow.

Almost 3000 people use Section 8 and a thousand people utilize Public Housing in Allen County every month. 
However, it's a pecking order, and if someone's single, not disabled, and without a family, that puts him or her at the top of the list as the first to be let go.

"Who would be the first impacted, and the second, and a tertiary impact on families, and we think people who are able-bodied tend to be the ones that we look to first," said Maynard Scales, the Executive Director of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority.


Sequestration impacts looming in northern Michigan

by Brody O'Connell
Posted: 03.13.2013 at 9:16 AM

The Traverse City Housing Commission sent out a letter to landlords saying it expects to see a 5.1% decrease in funding to it’s housing assistance program.

If those cuts occur, the commission may have to cut participants from the Section 8 housing program.

“Our participants are concerned because they are not on this program because they want to be on this program, they are on this because they need the assistance, they need that to help them live in a decent, affordable unit,” said Housing Commission Executive Director, Ilah Honson.

It is likely that Section 8 housing terminations would not take place until May 1, Honson said.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., there is no sign of a short term solution.


Dwindling federal funds plays role in city's public housing woes

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:05 pm | Updated: 11:16 pm, Tue Mar 12, 2013.

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Dwindling federal money is squeezing public housing agencies nationwide, a trend highlighted by a recent report chastising Charlottesville's housing authority for poor financial oversight.

With more than $1 billion in cuts nationwide to rental assistance programs looming, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development warned in the report that the Charlottesville Redevelopment & Housing Authority's failures to collect rent and other debts "jeopardizes the [authority's] financial viability."

Revenues at the local authority trailed spending by almost $1 million in fiscal year 2012, according to the report.

"It concerned me that we did not meet the funding guidelines for HUD, the funding agency for the whole program," Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja said Tuesday. "We need to respond to those concerns first."

Officials must do so against the backdrop of plunging federal money for HUD. The agency's budget request for fiscal year 2013 is about $44 billion, down almost a fifth from $55.9 billion last year.

Among the proposed cuts in next fiscal year's budget are $500 million in rental assistance programs and another $640 million to a program providing rental aid to families and single people living in newly constructed or rehabilitated buildings, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in his 2013 budget message.

Figures such as those lead to other numbers far smaller but impactful -- HUD recommended in its report on the local authority that minimum monthly rent be doubled from $25 to $50.

"Of course, [federal] numbers are going to translate into less money for the housing authorities, which is why we suggest that they look at cost-cutting measures and revenue generation," said Donna White, a HUD spokeswoman.

Those were among an array of recommendations in the HUD report on the Charlottesville authority, which the feds depicted as plagued by insufficient documentation, failures to monitor income, inadequate budgetary controls and a lack of support from its board.

Authority revenues fell from $6.9 million to $5.1 million from fiscal year 2011 to 2012, but spending stayed relatively level at $6 million, the HUD report said. The agency gave the local authority until the end of the month to address the report's findings.

Raising rent is not a panacea, said Councilor Dave Norris, the former authority board chairman recently replaced on the panel by Huja.

"The idea that the housing authority residents are going to be able to financially bail out the authority with increased rents is delusional," Norris said.

But HUD plans for some of the cuts to federal aid programs to be covered by increased minimum rents. That comes as demand for public housing is increasing and infrastructure is deteriorating.


Sequestration to force HUD to shut down for 7 days

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Tuesday - 3/12/2013, 2:48pm EDT

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will furlough all 9,000 of its employees for seven days between May and August in a bid to reduce costs due to sequestration.

All employees, including career employees, will be furloughed the same number of days, which will effectively result in a shutdown of the department on those days. The proposed furlough dates are May 10 and 24; June 14; July 5 and 22; and August 16 and 30.
The automatic, across-the-board cuts will lop more than $66 million from HUD's 2013 bottom line.


(Columbia Housing Authority, Missouri)
For working poor seeking housing assistance, sequestration brings tough choices

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | 6:11 p.m. CDT; updated 6:38 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Should funding projections from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development remain in place, the authority would be forced to reduce the number of families that get subsidies by 70, according to agency figures. Currently, 1,132 families receive vouchers for rent, which usually allow participants to pay no more than 30 percent of their income toward housing.


(Wisconsin, Feb. 28, 2013)
How the Sequester will affect Dane County’s most vulnerable

For the Dane County Housing authority this means a $36,120 reduction in HAP payments every month. With the average HAP payment being about $600, this cut means that 60 families will lose their rent assistance. That’s 60 families that are now homeless, 60 vacant housing units not collecting rent and 60 requests to local shelters for emergency assistance.


(Santa Clara County)
The Sequester and the Local Impact

Posted by Sparky Harlan on Friday, March 8, 2013

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A recent email from the Chair of the Santa Clara County Collaborative on Affordable Housing and Homeless Issues discusses the anticipated cuts to services for the homeless and to affordable housing. Up to 800 low-income families could lose their housing and urban development (HUD) vouchers that currently subsidize rental payments. As a result, many could end up homeless.

Click below for email stating that 800 low-income families could lose their vouchers in Santa Clara County...


(Napa - March 8, 2013)
City will close rent subsidy waiting list

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Closing the wait list, which the housing authority plans to do at 5 p.m. on March 29, will largely free up the one-third of a staff position currently required to maintain it, Ferrell said. Some time will still be spent maintaining the list, which will be reopened when the locals on the list have received funding.

On average, each Section 8 recipients receive $712 toward monthly rent, Ferrell said. Prior to sequestration of the federal budget taking effect last week, the housing authority was issuing about 10 new vouchers each month thanks to turnover.

With the sequestration cuts, the housing authority will no longer issue new vouchers, regardless of how many families fall off the program. Last week, Ferrell reported the housing authority was expecting a 6 percent funding cut, which could force it to revoke 73 existing vouchers.

On Tuesday, she said staff are reviewing reserves to see if there is money that could lessen the impact.

Ferrell said 16 would-be Section 8 recipient households have already felt the impact of the automatic budget cuts. Those families and/or individuals were new recipients of Section 8 assistance who were looking for housing but had not yet signed leases for apartments. Their vouchers were revoked following sequestration.


Sequestration cuts mean Syracuse's poor have longer wait for subsidized housing

By Marnie Eisenstadt |
on March 08, 2013 at 12:28 PM, updated March 08, 2013 at 12:47 PM

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The Syracuse Housing Authority has so many people who need housing help that its waiting list is closed to most people. And now the wait for those who made the list just got longer.

The authority will lose 150 of its 3,600 Section 8 vouchers this year as a result of $85 billion in federal budget cuts that went into effect last week.

The agency is preparing to lose $1.1 million of its $18.9 million budget for Section 8 housing.

Low-income families use the vouchers to offset rental costs for apartments they find for themselves. The waiting list for public housing, another option for low-income families, is also years long.


Sequester effects begin to surface at city, DHA
Mar. 08, 2013 @ 05:46 PM

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By Ray Gronberg; 919-419-6648

Officials in two local agencies say they’re beginning to see fallout from the federal government’s budget “sequester” as the country’s leading political parties remain deadlocked on fiscal policy.

Durham Housing Authority chief Dallas Park said his agencies will “have to make some hard choices” because it’s in line to lose about $2.5 million in funding.

Parks and his staff are still assessing the situation and likely will report to the DHA board’s finance committee, which is scheduled to meet late Wednesday afternoon.

But, tentatively, it’s looking like the agency will lose about $1 million of the subsidies that support its public housing complex, another $1 million or so that underwrites Section 8 rental vouchers, about $230,000 that supports the administration of the Section 8 program and some money that goes into maintenance.

There’s little question that operational cutbacks will result.
“Obviously, we have to align our expenses to our revenues,” said Parks, adding that DHA was figuring on spending about $35 million in 2013. “It’s not going to be fun. It’s a very difficult task.”


(Fort Worth, Kansas)
Federal cuts mean fewer low-income families will get housing assistance

Alex Branch | Fort Worth Star-Telegram - March 8, 2013

Local housing agencies are preparing for federal budget reductions by freezing waiting lists already clogged by thousands of applicants and, in Fort Worth, even canceling vouchers already issued to clients who are still searching for apartments.

At least 600 fewer families in Tarrant County could get assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8, because of the sequestration cuts, officials predict.
Agencies will do their best to achieve the cuts through attrition rather than terminating contracts with those currently in housing, officials said.

However, the Fort Worth Housing Authority is already canceling vouchers for clients who have yet to find a rental unit, said Selarstean Mitchell, vice president of assisted housing. The agency stopped processing those vouchers two weeks ago.

"It's a very difficult thing to do because we have never had to do it," Mitchell said. "People are surprised. When they get that voucher, they are always so happy and excited."

Housing agencies nationwide are bracing for the impact of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development budget cuts that could result in a loss of 100,000 vouchers nationwide, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Housing authorities were notified several weeks ago to expect about 94 percent of the funding they were eligible for this year, Mitchell said.

"Housing authorities are going to have to start making these tough decisions," said Linda Couch, the national coalition's senor vice president for policy and research. "We are already starting to hear a lot of reports of housing authorities freezing turnover or looking at their payment standards."

The vouchers have always been popular and the economic downturn put them in greater demand. Under the program, a housing subsidy is paid to a landlord directly by a housing agency on behalf of the client. The client then pays the difference.

The Fort Worth Housing Authority's voucher program backlog is 18,000 families while the Arlington Housing Authority has reached 11,000.

In Arlington, sequestration is expected to result in about 200 fewer families receiving assistance, said David Zappasodi, Arlington Housing Authority executive director.

"Each month an average of 35 program participants exit the rental housing assistance programs," Zappasodi wrote in an email. "The Arlington Housing Authority plans to manage the reduction in funding through program attrition to avoid any harmful impact to program participants."

However, that means it will take longer reach applicants on the waiting list, he said.

The cuts may force Tarrant County to lose about 150 housing vouchers, said Patricia Ward, county director of community development and housing. However, officials may ask HUD for permission to reduce the value of the vouchers so as to only lose 85.

That change would require clients to pay more of their own rent, she said.

"It would make it a little harder for our clients, but we trying to not take anyone completely off (the program)," Ward said. "A lot of our clients are disabled and elderly."

Reductions in vouchers or their value could have a long-term effect, Couch said. In many cities, rental units are in such high demand that some landlords could decide that participation in the voucher program is more trouble than it is worth.

"The voucher program 100 percent relies on the participation of private landlords," she said. "The sequester brings a lot of question marks to the federal government's ability or commitment to have a stable program."


Sequester could cost Phila. Housing Authority 42M


POSTED: Thursday, March 7, 2013, 8:36 Pm

With across-the-board federal cuts that kicked in March 1, the Philadelphia Housing Authority calculated that it would lose $42 million in funding this year, equal to an 11 percent drop in its budget, the agency's interim executive director told employees in a letter this week.


Sequester hits Section 8 program in Redondo Beach

March 7, 2013 2:00 pm

Sequestration – the buzzword for $85 billion in budget cuts mandated by the federal government to raise the debt ceiling and reduce deficits – is beginning to ripple through the country. Redondo Beach is likely to feel an acute impact, most immediately to its Section 8 Rent Assistance Program, which could lose up to $1.2 million in federal funding.

The program receives funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the form of reimbursements to both the city and the landlords with whom it has agreements. At a Housing Authority meeting in December, it was revealed that currently 543 Redondo Beach families are receiving assistance through Section 8.

The City is required give 90 days’ notice if it must terminate a Section 8 agreement.


(Zanesville, OH.)
ZMHA faces $1M-plus in cuts
Sequester hinders agency's ability to help poor people

Mar. 6, 2013 5:48 PM

“The bottom line impact of sequestration to ZMHA to public housing is about $500,000 less,” Randles said. “With the housing choice voucher program, we’ll get $267,000 less for housing assistance payments, and $151,000 less for the administrative fee, which totals $418,000 less with the two.”

“My concern is we’re close to our breaking point,” he said. “In January and February, we received 92 percent of what we’re eligible to receive on the public housing side. We’re only slated to receive 82 percent in March and less than 70 percent from April through December. We know the sequester impacts will be felt in April, and we’re trying to assess and analyze what it means in April and beyond. We need to know how to navigate this.”

[[[Zanesville Metropolitan Housing Authority stands to lose more than $1 million and serve less people because of the sequester.]]]


(Madison, Wis.)
New downtown high-rise sparks affordability debate

Wegleitner recounted new figures from the Dane County Housing Authority showing a loss of 60 Section 8 rent assistance vouchers due to the sequestration, which the agency hopes to handle through attrition and longer waiting lists.


SMHA to cut jobs
Springfield agency faces $400K in budget cuts.

Posted: 10:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The authority’s budget — which comes almost entirely from the federal government and tenant rent payments — was reduced about $400,000 this year. In 2012, the total budget was $2.5 million. This year, it’s $2.1 million.

SMHA’s low-income public housing operating subsidy was cut by 17 percent this month, according to documents obtained by the Springfield News-Sun. The agency’s operating subsidy for its Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8 rent stipends, is also expected to be reduced by 31 percent in April.
Those cuts in the federal funds prompted the local jobs cuts, Sherry sai


Sequester Cuts Come to Midlands in First Week

Mar. 4, 2013

"We know that over the next year we will have to lose 140 families from our program," said Nancy Nevill Stoudenmire of the Columbia Housing Authority. "When we lose 140 houses in a Section 8 program, that means 140 landlords aren't getting that rent. So, the landlords are indirectly impacted."


Sequestration could mean $1.25 million in federal funding cuts for Boulder County housing, human services programs

POSTED: 02/28/2013 08:28:56 PM MST
UPDATED: 02/28/2013 08:29:32 PM MST
By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call

Earlier this week, county officials said the federal sequestration and the resulting cuts in the "housing choice voucher" program could mean that about 50 families could lose their rental assistance vouchers. That would impact families and individuals in the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program for homeless veterans; people in the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance program for homeless families with children in Boulder County's school districts; and the Family Unification Program, which helps subsidize families so children can stay at home with their parents.

[[[Housing cuts will impact rental assistance voucher programs for homeless veterans and families in the child welfare system. The cuts are expected to include nearly an $800,000 reduction in the county's rental assistance program for people at risk of becoming homeless.]]]

Tucson may evict 1,800 in 60 days

Public housing residents who owe back rent will be the first evicted if the city is forced to scale back its rental subsidy program because of federal sequestration cuts, city officials said Friday.


Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles - Feb. 22, 2013

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Sequestration's Impact:


[[[We anticipate that as many as 15,000 families that currently receive Section 8
assistance will be affected by these cuts resulting in a decrease of payment of an average
of approximately $200 per month.]]]

HACLA administers a variety of programs that utilize Section 8 housing assistance as a
basis for support for nearly 55,000 households in Los Angeles totaling payments of $528
million annually. The largest of these programs is the Section 8 tenant based voucher
program that serves 42,000 households. Those residents that are qualified and receive
Section 8 housing assistance pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. The Section 8
program pays for the balance of the rent to the landlord up to an amount that is determined
based on the fair market rents for rental housing in Los Angeles. Under sequestration we
expect to reduce payment assistance to 90 percent of the fair market rents as determined
by HUD. We anticipate that as many as 15,000 families that currently receive Section 8
assistance will be affected by these cuts resulting in a decrease of payment of an average
of approximately $200 per month. Many of these families will not be able to absorb such a
large increase in rent and will need to look for alternatives should the landlord choose not
to reduce the current rent. There are several options participants may choose between: the
tenant can cover the difference, the landlord may decide to absorb the loss, or participants
may opt to move to an apartment with a lower rent. Even in the best of circumstances, we
expect thousands to be forced to relocate from their current residences.


(San Francisco Bay View Newspaper)
HUD housing programs at risk locally and across the nation

By Lynda Carson - January 26, 2013

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