Federal cuts affecting local housing programs

Federal cuts affecting local housing programs

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The city of Austin is starting to feel the effects of the federal sequestration. The mayor has been notified to expect cuts to housing programs. And this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Austin relies on federal funding for many programs, including housing. The mayor said Tuesday, at the local level, the city is in a tough position because of the federal budget cuts.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has notified the city that they should expect 5% in cuts to housing programs in Austin this year, and that could continue in the years to come. That will impact a number of housing programs that are assisted by the government.

The Housing Authority of Austin currently serves about 18,000 Austinites and has close to 10,000 residents on the waitlist for public housing and rental assistance.

So, every dollar from the government counts. Upon receiving a letter from HUD, the city is expecting cuts in other areas.

"Obviously the cuts are across a wide spectrum, not just HUD. Almost everything except the basic entitlement programs are affected by this. There will be exceptions, but we could anticipate there'll be cuts in public safety assistance, grants, those kinds of things, perhaps transportation and others," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

The waitlist for HUD housing in Austin is currently closed, but will reopen later this year. It's expected that tens of thousands of people will sign up for that waitlist.

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