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City Strips Thousands of Needy New Yorkers of Their Section 8 Housing Vouchers

By Nicole Bode | December 18, 2009 2:13pm | Updated on December 18, 2009 2:11pm

By Nicole Bode

DNAinfo Associate Editor

MANHATTAN – The city has slashed 3,000 needy New Yorkers off the housing subsidy rolls and is closing the program off to new applications because of federal budget cuts.

The New York City Housing Authority said they had no choice but to gut the Section 8 voucher program, a federally-funded housing subsidy for the poor, elderly or disabled, when Congress stripped $58 million from their budget in May.

“It’s a difficult but unavoidable decision,” NYCHA chairman John Rhea told reporters Thursday.

Section 8 recipients typically have to pay 30 percent of their monthly income towards rent, with the rest covered by the voucher.

As a result of the cutbacks, 3,000 individuals or families who have already gotten the vouchers but who were still looking for an eligible apartment to open up will have their vouchers yanked, according to published reports.

Another 128,000 applicants currently on the waiting list will be left dangling through the end of 2010, or until federal funding is restored, the agency told the New York Times.

Most of those were people in emergency situations, including the formerly homeless, domestic violence victims and foster children who aged out of care, the Times said.

A spokesman for the city’s Department of Homeless Services told the Times the agency was trying to expand a state program for formerly homeless families to cover those affected by Section 8 cutbacks.