Washington, DC – Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today blasted Bush’s Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson on the recent move by HUD to make significant cuts in federal funding to Housing Authorities that administer the Section 8 rental assistance program for elderly, disabled and low-income Vermonters at a hearing in the House Financial Services Committee. Sanders urged Secretary Jackson to rescind these unnecessary cuts in affordable housing.
Earlier this week, HUD sent out a notice to the Housing Authorities in Vermont announcing deep and unexpected cuts in their administration of the Section 8 program. This decision is retroactive to Jan. 1 so the states and localities are in danger of losing monies already paid out this year.
Sanders said, “At a time when Congress increased funding for the administration of the Section 8 rental assistance program by 15%, it is unconscionable that HUD unilaterally decided to cut this program for Vermont Housing Authorities by 13 to 19 percent. HUD’s announcement came as a shock to these housing authorities who provide crucial affordable housing assistance to thousands of families in Vermont.”
HUD’s announcement will mean that the Vermont State Housing Authority is faced with a $262,000 cut representing 14.4% of their Section 8 administrative budget; the Burlington Housing Authority is faced with a $180,000 cut representing 19% of their Section 8 administrative budget; the Winooski Housing Authority is faced with a cut of over 17% in administrative expenses; and the Montpelier Housing Authority is faced with a 13% cut in Section 8 administrative expenses. In addition, the St. Albans Housing Authority is faced with a $22,000 shortfall in providing Section 8 assistance to 75 households as a result of HUD’s actions.
Sanders continued, “Since taking office, the Bush Administration has made a series of policy decisions that seem to be designed to dismantle the Section 8 rental assistance program one piece at a time,” said Rep Sanders. “The Administration’s affordable housing policy is an absolute disaster. We have an affordable housing crisis in this country and the President’s policy is making a bad situation much worse.”
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