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Public Housing Residents Worry About Potential Cuts To Housing Authority

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When they announced a budget agreement this week, the mayor and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said they had saved jobs at the city's housing authority, but the city's public housing developments still face a major cut. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

One resident of the Smith Houses told NY1 that "it takes years for anything to get fixed inside the apartment."

Residents don't think that is going to change, and they were not convinced by a show of support from Mayor Michael Bloomberg Sunday.

"It's just shameful that Washington is compounding its failure to come to a reasonable agreement on budget priorities by shrinking its obligation to some of the most vulnerable people in our city," Bloomberg said Sunday.

The City Council and the mayor announced this week that they would inject $58 million into the New York City Housing Authority's budget, but thanks to a cut from Washington, the authority is still $150 million short, and a plan to cut back, while short on specifics, is still in the pipeline.

"We're talking about the possibility of buildings not being able to be repaired," said Gregory Floyd of Teamsters Local 237. "We're talking about the possibility of layoffs, the loss of federal funding."

The most vulnerable are residents that receive a Section 8 housing voucher.

"We always worry when situations like this come upon us," said one resident. "So all we can do is just wait."

Earlier this month, the authority said a loss of federal money could mean 1,200 low-income families could lose their Section 8 housing voucher. Others on Section 8 could see a $57 increase in their monthly rents.

"They might raise the rent, and for people that might not be able to afford the rent, it might be a problem for those that really, really low income," said one person.

Housing authority officials said that is still the case. Earlier this week, an authority spokesperson released a statement that read, "The New York City Housing Authority now anticipates fewer immediate layoffs...However, NYCHA continues to be faced with a shortfall in federal funding of nearly $150 million and must proceed with difficult decisions to balance our budget."

On Friday, the authority's leadership declined to elaborate further.

Since details are few and far between, residents said they can only hope the budget cuts won't reverse whatever progress the housing authority was starting to make.

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