SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Federal sequestration cuts are hitting Section 8 tenants in Santa Clara County hard, with rent increases coming for thousands of households.

Laura is one of the angry tenants who showed up at a Santa Clara County Housing Authority Board Meeting on Tuesday. She said she couldn’t believe the rent increase notification she received.

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“I am now paying $90. By August 1, I’ll be paying $835,” she said. “This is the last month for me to pay $90. I’m devastated and shocked.”

County Housing Authority Executive Director Alex Sanchez said the $21 million funding cut from the feds left them with no good options.

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“We had two choices, both bad ones. But I think the least damaging choice was to raise rents across the board to all 18,000 households,” Sanchez said. “The other possibility was to eliminate 5 percent of the people we serve. That’s about a thousand families that would be eliminated from the program.”

Along with the rent increase, some participants may also receive a reduction in their voucher size effective September 1.

Sanchez said the situation could be even more dire with a second round of cuts possible in October.

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