08/16/13 The “sequester” which went into action earlier this year is causing major issues for the Marshall County Housing Authority, and other housing authorities around the state. 

This week, Donna Vela Director of the Marshall County Housing Authority came before the Marshall County Council to explain her dilemma.  The federal government has cut the administration budgets for Housing Authorities by 40% this year and will cut it another 40% for the next 10 years.  This cut has let the office short $17,000 in administrative expenses. 

Vela said that she had spoken to Mayor Mark Senter and asked for $10,000 to help get through the rest of this year.  She also asked the County Council for $10,000 to cover this year’s budget shortfall. 

There is one possibility, to join the Goshen and Warsaw Housing Authority Consortium.  Vela explained that joining the consortium would allow the housing vouchers to stay in Marshall County.  If the Marshall County Housing Authority is forced to close its door, the vouchers would go back to the state and be issues statewide.

The Housing Authority locally administers the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) voucher program.  This federal program provides financial assistance to very low income families, elderly and disabled so they can afford decent rental housing.  The assistance is paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the renter.  Many times the renter must pay a portion of the rent because the voucher doesn’t cover the entire cost. 

Vela did explain that the federal government has money available for the vouchers, it’s the administration of the program where funding is being cut.  Currently there are 171 vouchers for Marshall County with a majority of them being in Plymouth.