HUD cuts would enhance homelessness throughout NM, ”Albuquerque Journal

Budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration include $ 6 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which could result in the loss of Section 8 homes for 1,400 families across the country, about half of them in Albuquerque, Hank Hughes said , Executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

Section 8 is a joint federal and state program to promote housing for families struggling for affordable and safe housing.

Hughes was one of the speakers at a protest and press conference held Thursday morning at the Barrett Foundation, which operates an emergency shelter for women and children and several supportive housing programs. Many of those in attendance held pillows to symbolize the people and families who would lose their affordable housing and likely become homeless if the HUD cuts came about.

Hughes described the cuts as “not for profit” and said 1,400 families would lose their homes under Section 8 “almost overnight.” Currently, “only one in four who qualifies for a publicly funded home gets it,” so increasing the HUD budget would be the right thing to do, he said.

“Housing is health care,” said Andrew Estocin, assistant director of the Albuquerque Housing Authority, which supports nearly 5,000 households, including 3,000 children. “Every dollar spent on housing saves our city between $ 5 and $ 7 on things like hospital visits, community services, police calls, rescue operations, and truancy. Everything else falls apart without living space. “

The proposed cuts to the HUD will also affect the Barrett Foundation’s ability to help the women and children they seek help, said executive director Connie Chavez. During the past fiscal year, 443 women and children were cared for in the Barrett House shelter and 324 left through supportive accommodation.

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“We currently have a shortage of affordable housing in our community,” she said. Still, Barrett House receives more than 500 calls annually from women and children looking for shelters and shelters.

The city of Albuquerque will also feel the impact of the HUD budget cuts, said Diane Dolan, policy analyst for District 2 City Councilor Isaac Benton. The loss of federal funding would impact local housing initiatives for low- and middle-income families and the homeless – initiatives funded in part by community development bloc grants from HUD.

Ultimately, the number of available home vouchers would decrease and people would have to wait longer for affordable housing, she said.

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