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April 8, 2013

Housing Authority budget cut by 29 percent

McALESTER — The McAlester Housing Authority’s budget for the 2013/2014 fiscal year was cut to 71 percent.

“The Housing and Urban Development program, or HUD, has cut our budget to 71 percent,” said Donna Robinson, Section 8 coordinator for the McAlester Housing Authority.

Housing Authority Executive Director Joy Holloway said her office sends in a budget every year, and every year the budget is cut by a bit, but it has never been cut as much as it has this time. “In the last five years the budget has been cut to between 83 and 90 percent,” Holloway said. “We’re not getting the amount of money we used to get.”

Housing Authority Board members asked Holloway where she planned to make cuts in spending to accommodate for the lost funds. “We’re going to cut back on home upkeep and repairs and we’re cutting back on Section 8,” she replied.

Housing Authority Board Member Robert Goodspeed said, “I just wonder if our general public knows how much its hurt us.”

Both Robinson and Holloway said the cuts are going to have a huge impact on McAlester. Robinson said although she does not have to take anyone off Section 8 Housing, she will not be accepting new applications. “”We are no longer issuing vouchers on the Section 8 program at this time,” she said.

Robinson said she currently has 63 Section 8 homes and, although she is allotted to use 73 homes, those homes will not be used at this time.

The McAlester Housing Authority Board meets at 4 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at 520 W. Kiowa Ave. The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

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