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Sequester Expected to Squeeze Austin's Affordable Housing Programs (Update)

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Update: You can now read the full letter HUD sent to its grantees around the country, including Austin. 

Original Post (12:05 p.m.): Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says the federal spending cuts known as the sequester will have an effect on affordable housing in the city.

Mayor Leffingwell says he was notified of the cuts by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During a city council work session this morning he said right now there aren’t a lot of details on the cuts, but it looks like the city will see a five percent reduction in the amount of funding its eligible for. “It’ll be for this fiscal year,” Leffingwell said, “and, we’re advised, likely to continue.”

Programs affected include Community Development Block Grants, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS and housing funds for the homeless.

Below, read more in a press release from the mayor’s office.

Austin to Face Budget Constraints as a Result of Sequestration HUD Advises Austin to Expect 5 Percent Cuts to Housing Programs AUSTIN - Mayor Lee Leffingwell received a preliminary letter yesterday from the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Maurice A. Jones, outlining the cuts the City of Austin will feel due to sequestration at the federal level. This may be just the tip of the iceberg, as Austin relies on federal funding and partnership for many programs including transportation, emergency preparedness, public safety, social services and environmental sustainability. “It’s clear that we are just beginning to see the effects of sequestration at the local level,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “The letter we received today does not include specific federal budget reductions but is informative in setting expectations and says we can expect 5 percent reductions. As elected officials and administrators locally, we find ourselves in a very unfortunate position.” … Here is an excerpt outlining what Austin can expect to see: …Based on our initial analysis, it is likely that your full-year FY 2013 formula program funding will be lower that it was in FY 2012 due to the sequester, which may affect your workforce and planning for this year, and possibly beyond. You can expect 5 percent reductions from the FY 2013 annualized Continuing Resolution levels for the formula programs you are eligible for, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), and Emergency Solutions Grants for the homeless (ESG) programs. The Mayor’s office has not received letters from any other departments at this point, but we expect to see the effects of the across-the-board $85 billion federal cuts in the coming weeks. At the local level, Austin will need to find ways to make up for the cuts in order to help those in our community who rely on these programs the most.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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