[Hpn] [Vermont: Local] Housing agencies swallow budget cuts

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@gmail.com
Sat, 22 May 2004 13:55:11 -0400


Following the below forwarded news article are some related links fyi.

Morgan <norsehorse@gmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf:
http://norsehorses-turf.blogspot.com

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Saturday, May 22, 2004
Barre - Montpelier Times Argus
Housing agencies swallow budget cuts
http://www.timesargus.com/04/Story/84040.html

By David Delcore

TIMES ARGUS STAFF

BARRE - Executives of two local housing authorities say they'll dip
into operating reserves in order to make up for retroactive reductions
in their Section 8 housing administration budgets, but both worry
about the long-term ramifications of deeper cuts that have already
been proposed by federal regulators.

Marc Recko, executive director of the Barre Housing Authority, and Jo
Ann Troiano, executive director of the Montpelier Housing Authority,
say their agencies are small and diverse enough to absorb funding
reductions they learned about earlier this week, when the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development informed the state's 10
local housing authorities, as well as the Vermont State Housing
Authority, of the retroactive cuts.

"We're committed to doing the same job at the same quality with less
money through this fiscal year," said Recko. "We're not going to
reduce staff or reduce the program at this time."

The reason, according to Recko, is the Barre Housing Authority is
relatively small by statewide standards and the 13 percent reduction
to its Section 8 housing administration budget will amount to only
about $10,000.

"We take the same percentage cut as everyone else, but it doesn't
amount to as many dollars," he said.

Troiano said the story is much the same at the Montpelier Housing
Authority, where the 13 percent cut amounts to about $9,000.

"Nobody who has housing is going to lose housing and we won't have to
reduce staff," she said, explaining that size matters when it comes to
the across-the-board cut recently approved by HUD regulators.

"The bigger the housing authority, the bigger the cut," she said,
adding: "We're pretty small so we're not as bad shape as some housing
authorities."

Hardest hit by the cuts is the Vermont State Housing Authority, which
issues nearly 4,000 housing vouchers under the federal program each
year. The 14 percent reduction VSHA must absorb amounts to more than
$260,000. The Burlington Housing Authority, the largest local housing
authority in the state, must make up what will be a $106,000 shortfall
this fiscal year, while continuing to administer the 1,700 housing
vouchers it has already issued and maintaining a sizeable waiting
list.

Those are big numbers compared to Barre, where Recko says the local
housing authority administers about 130 housing vouchers, and
Montpelier, where Troiano said the number of residents who receive
federal housing subsidies is roughly 120.

Both Recko and Troiano say they have long waiting lists for the
Section 8 program, and are troubled by word from Washington that HUD
officials have proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year that would
mean the loss of $4.3 million in vouchers for Vermont.

"If that happens, all bets are off," said Recko, who doesn't want to
lose any of the 130 vouchers the BHA administers.

"We hope to keep that number in the next fiscal year, but we sure
don't expect any additional units," he said, adding: "The need is
there for more than that."

The wait for Section 8 housing in Montpelier is about two years. The
long list recently prompted Troiano to close the authority's waiting
list to new applicants. That decision, which was made before the
latest cuts were announced, makes even more sense now, according to
Troiano, who said she is considering trimming the local housing
voucher program by attrition until federal legislators make a decision
on HUD's proposed 2005 budget.

"We all . . . want to have faith that Congress will turn this around,"
she said.

Recko said he believes it would be foolish to make deep cuts in a
program that has worked as well as the Section 8 housing subsidies.

"It has historically been a very successful program," he said. The
program makes market rent apartments affordable for low-income
families without shortchanging landlords in the process.

"It's a win-win all across the board," Recko said, noting that Barre
landlords received more than $500,000 in housing subsidies last year.

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Related News Story:

[Vermont] Housing agencies face another cut:
http://www.timesargus.com/04/CentralVermont/Story/83969.html

Related blog posts:

[Hpn] Section 8 op-ed by Nancy Pelosi:
http://norsehorses-turf.blogspot.com/2004/05/hpn-section-8-op-ed-by-nancy-pelosi.html

National Housing Justice Memorial Day: May 26, 2004:
http://norsehorses-turf.blogspot.com/2004/05/national-housing-justice-memorial-day.html

For additional information, go to:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
http://www.hud.gov/

Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA):
http://www.vsha.org/

Congressman Bernie Sanders, I - VT:
http://bernie.house.gov

Bernie Sanders' Press Release (5/20/2004):
Sanders Blasts Bush's Housing Secretary on Housing Cuts in Vermont:
http://bernie.house.gov/documents/releases/20040520150051.asp

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distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior
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Morgan <norsehorse@gmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf:
http://norsehorses-turf.blogspot.com