News Article

In Jersey City, Sequester Already Hitting Home

By Katie Colaneri, WBGO News
Jersey City. March 5, 2013

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Public housing systems like the Jersey City Housing Authority are bracing for sequestration cuts from HUD.

In New Jersey, HUD officials estimate the state could lose $38 million for programs that help the poor due to the sequester. While the full impact remains to be seen, those who rely on federal dollars are already feeling the pressure.

Maria Maio hasn’t been sleeping much lately. She’s Executive Director of the Jersey City Housing Authority – the second largest public housing system in the state, home to about 16,000 low-income residents.

She still doesn’t know what they’re getting from HUD which is making budgeting a nightmare.  

“We will have to demonstrate that we’re able to pay our bills and in order to do that we’ll have staff reductions, as well as looking at all our contracts.”

Cuts to administrative and maintenance staff come with a price of their own. Maio says it was hard enough keeping up with a six percent vacancy rate and repairs to the buildings – some of them are over 70 years old. Then, Hurricane Sandy caused more than $3 million in damage.

And that’s what keeps her up at night.

“You just keep thinking there’s gotta be something you could do to fix this, and honestly, it’s money.” 

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