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HUD Funds May Increase For ARHA

Federal funding decreases to local housing authorities may not be as severe as originally anticipated.

This was the word received by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) at its January 27 meeting. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told ARHA, "It expects Public Housing Authorities to operate at a funding level of approximately 90 percent, should Congress pass HUD's requested budget."

On January 6, HUD notified local authorities that they would be slicing their normal payment by 30 percent due to a $250 million shortfall in their budget. The follow -up news release clarified that the previous warning was "a temporary estimate until HUD's requested 2003 budget is finalized by Congress."

HUD assistant secretary Michael Liu, stated, "We understand the delicate balancing act we are asking Public Housing Authorities to temporarily perform. We are optimistic that once Congress passes HUD's requested budget that we will have the funding to serve their fiscal needs."

IF CONGRESS denies HUD's budget request it could mean a $600,000 shortfall for ARHA's 2003 budget and a potential hardship on all public housing residents in the City. Negotiations are still underway between Congress and HUD.

In other actions last week ARHA Commissioners:

* Welcomed the latest addition to the Commission, Leslie Hagan. She was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judith Seltz. Antoine P. Cobb was reappointed to another term as well.

* Acknowledged the receipt of a $3 million grant from the Virginia Housing and Development Authority to help fund mortgages for first time home owners. Monies can be used to help Section 8 Voucher holders, ARHA employees, and other income eligible City residents, according to Connie Lenox, ARHA administrative director of Development. The grant was written under the Sponsoring Partners and Revitalizing Communities program, Lenox explained.

* Elected their 2003 officers. A. Melvin Miller and Carlyle C. Ring, Jr. were unanimous reelected chairman and vice chairman, respectively.