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Residents Rally Against Policy Forcing Some Tenants To Downsize To Smaller Apartments

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Hundreds of residents living in low-income housing rallied Saturday against a new policy forcing some tenants to downsize to smaller apartments.

A new regulation by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development requires hundreds of Section 8 tenants in oversized apartments to move to smaller ones.

Protesters say the vast majority of those affected are senior citizens and disabled residents.

"They are trying desperately to hold onto their homes, homes that they've lived in for decades," said Laurie Cumbo, the Democratic nominee for a City Council seat in Brooklyn.

"They are targeting the seniors and the disabled because most of them are in either two bedrooms or three bedrooms, which is understandable to downsize them, but they're downsizing them to zero bedrooms, which is a studio," said Alicia Barksdale of the Housing Coalition Against Downsizing.

"Seniors that are not only asked to be downsize, but they're paying over 50 percent of their income, which is social security, primarily," said Kelly Junior of Hudson View Terrace.

In a statement, HPD said, "We have lost tens of millions of dollars, and are doing all we can to stretch our funds so that nobody loses their Section 8 benefit today. It is our hope that Congress takes swift action to restore the budget so that we can bring relief to our city's most vulnerable citizens and prevent future voucher loss."

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