7:52 PM EDT, March 25, 2013
If you were entertaining the notion that the so-called sequester is really a good idea, it isn't. It may end up putting hundreds of poor Connecticut families out on the street.
That is just one of many adverse effects beginning to take shape as a result of the $85.4 billion being slashed from the federal budget because Congress couldn't respond to its own incentive to come up with a sensible deficit reduction plan. And in the not improbable event that nothing is done, cuts will rise to $109.3 billion a year from 2014 through 2021.
Among the first citizens to feel the effects of this manufactured mess are people who use Section 8 housing assistance vouchers, which help poor people pay their rent. Under the program, qualifying low-income tenants are issued vouchers that they can take to a landlord to rent an apartment. Now, some people who have vouchers but who haven't yet found an apartment are having the vouchers recalled. Other won't get them at all.
As The Courant reported Sunday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which runs the program, estimates the cuts will affect about 125,000 families in the nation. In Hartford's largest Section 8 program, the number of voucher holders will be reduced by 200 by the end of the year, bringing the number from 4,700 to 4,500. This with a waiting list of 3,500.
This is shameful. Section 8 is a good program, a vast improvement over public housing projects. It allows tenants to keep enough of their income for food, medications and other essentials. In addition to providing housing, it injects investment into the local real estate market and pressures landlords to maintain their buildings in good order, to pass Section 8 inspections.
If government is not taking care of the neediest among us, it isn't doing its job. The country suffers for the ineptitude of its leaders.
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