SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The Santa Clara County Housing Authority Commission will on Tuesday consider a proposed 5% rent increase for thousands of households in the local Section 8 housing program in the face of sequester-related federal cuts.
The agency says the rent increase is the lesser of two evils, the alternative being to simply cut participants from the program.
The Housing Authority is funded entirely by the federal government. Since sequestration cuts took effect March 1, the agency has suffered a monthly $2.6 million reduction in funding.
“If we don’t address the budget issues that we are now facing, we would lose as many as 800 to 1,000 families to our program, compounding the homeless conditions in Santa Clara County. So we’re asking the board to make dramatic changes to essentially spread the pain throughout the 18,000 people who we serve by increasing rents to all the participants that we work with,” said Santa Clara County Housing Authority director Alex Sanchez.
“There will be a rent increase across the board. Individuals on fixed income, particularly seniors and the disabled, will feel that expense. This is really a very difficult choice. We could either displace people from the program and impact a number of homeless people in our neighborhoods or increase the rent across the whole program,” Sanchez said.
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