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HUD to shut down offices as a result of sequester

May 17, 2013|By E. Scott Reckard
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images )

Across-the-board cuts in the federal budget will force the Department of Housing and Urban Development to close its offices on May 24 and possibly six other days.

HUD, which provides assistance programs for low-income and homeless people, said Friday that it had tentatively scheduled additional furloughs of employees for June 14, July 5, July 22, Aug. 2, Aug. 16 and Aug. 30.

The agency has been reducing expenses in response to the so-called sequester, Congress’ mandate for budget cuts at a host of agencies including Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

HUD officials said it’s possible that cuts in other areas would enable HUD to keep the offices open on some of the days planned for closures.

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“Next week we’ll look at the budget,” HUD spokesman Brian E. Sullivan said Friday. “If we’re ahead of schedule on our cost cuts we might possibly not take all of our furlough days.”

In testimony to Congress, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has said the sequester could cause:

--About 125,000 individuals and families to lose assistance from a housing voucher program, putting them at risk of homelessness.

--More than 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans, to be removed from housing or emergency shelter programs.

--More than 900 Native American families to become unable to obtain housing loan guarantees for which they otherwise would qualify.

In a letter to California Gov. Jerry Brown, Donovan said HUD grants in California this fiscal year would be reduced by $193 million, affecting programs helping renters, the homeless, community development and housing for people with AIDS.

In a streamlining unrelated to the sequester, HUD also has announced plans to save money by shutting down 16 of its 80 field offices this year, including those in San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento.

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