Cuts Come at Worst Time 40,000 New Vouchers Needed
A March 22, 2014 New York Times editorial, “The Sequester and the Homeless”, raises the issue that the effects of the sequester continue to have a negative effect on programs that assist the homeless, including the Section 8 Voucher program.
Public Housing Authorities stopped issuing new vouchers and also retracted some previously committed vouchers that hadn’t yet been leased up.
“These cuts arrived in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, at a time when only one in four families who would qualify for federal rental assistance actually get it.”
In December 2013, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) found that 70,000 fewer low-income families were using vouchers than the previous year. Since Congress typically bases its funding of Section 8 on current voucher usage, it is critical that Congress work to replace the remaining half of these 70,000 vouchers that are still unfunded.
Compounding the problem of the cuts to voucher funding, a new government report estimates that 60,000 people lost housing and shelter beds due to sequestration.
The editorial concludes,
“All this comes at a time when record numbers of families have been caught in the squeeze between rising rents and falling wages — and are at greater risk of homelessness. In other words, this is the worst possible time for Congress to let affordable housing programs go begging.”