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Baltimore Housing Outlines the Devastating Impact of Sequestration

The agency pledges to maintain its mission in the face of budget shortfalls

BALTIMORE, MD - March 4, 2013) - Sequestration will have a direct impact on Baltimore Housing and its two agencies, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC). Approximately $16.5 million in sequester funding cuts will directly impact the services and resources provided to Baltimore residents.

Last week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called an emergency cabinet meeting to direct city agencies to prepare for the impact of federal funding cuts. The City receives more than $192 million in federal grants and funding, representing 12% of the City's total operating budget. Baltimore was highlighted in a recent story in the Economist showing the impact of the sequester on major U.S. cities.

"Sequestration is a meat-cleaver approach to spending reduction with a real impact that will be felt by vulnerable families and children in Baltimore," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. "If Congress fails to take action, cuts to housing programs-as well as those to public safety, health, and education-will have an adverse effect on Baltimore and throughout the country."

Potential impacts include:

- 874 adults will not receive literacy training.
- Approximately 830 households could be at risk of losing their housing vouchers.
- 216 households facing foreclosure will not receive counseling.
- 41 vacant and blighted structures will not be demolished.
- 40 very low-income homeowners will not receive critical home repairs.
- 17 units of low-income rental housing will not be produced.
- Capital improvements to public housing (such as roof and boiler replacements), routine maintenance and repairs, and replacement of equipment and supplies will be dramatically reduced.

"Obviously, these proposed cuts will have a devstating impact on the families we serve," said Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano. "We continue to be hopeful that federal budget negotiations will address these cuts before they are fully implemented."

In addition, the absence of a full federal budget for the current fiscal year increases HABC's shortfall by approximately $18 million.

Despite these severe cuts, Baltimore Housing will continue to serve the residents of Baltimore, maintaining its mission to ensure that citizens have access to adequate and affordable housing opportunities in safe, livable and decent neighborhoods.

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