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Seattle Housing's 2013 Proposed Budget Summary released

Budget developed in climate of fiscal uncertainy regarding impending federal cuts

SEATTLE — Sept. 4, 2012 — With the possibility looming of additional deep cuts in federal funding for low-income public housing, Seattle Housing is proposing a 2013 spending plan that cuts the agency's existing services budget by approximately $4.5 million, including elimination of 29 regular or full-time positions and a reduction in hours of work for two full-time positions. These reductions come on the heels of service cuts totaling nearly $10 million and elimination of 55 full-time positions in the 2012 budget. This represents a reduction of more than 11 percent of the agency's operating budget in just two years.

"If our funding continues to drop, it will be extremely difficult to continue to provide a reasonable level of services and housing to people with low incomes," said Seattle Housing Executive Director Andrew J. Lofton. "Housing is a critical safety net; often it is the only thing providing stability for individuals and families in need.  These federal cuts affect the lives of real people who are struggling."

Despite continued wrangling Congress has failed so far to pass a 2013 budget, but later this month is likely to pass a short term interim budget called a Continuing Resolution based on 2012 funding levels. However 2012 funding levels contained a significant cut in federal funds for Public Housing Authorities that was meant to apply only for one year, but is now contained in the Continuing Resolution for 2013 as well. If the Continuing Resolution is enacted in its current form, it will mean another significant cut in Seattle Housing's federal funding. Additionally, further deep cuts (known as "sequestration") are scheduled to take effect automatically at the beginning of 2013 if the Congress and President don't act. It is likely that Seattle Housing Authority will not know its final resources and whether additional cuts will be necessary until the first quarter of 2013.

"In light of these uncertainties, we have elected to steer a middle course by proposing budget reductions that are moderate in relation to the range of reductions we could ultimately face," said Lofton. "We did not want to impose the extent of cuts that might be required under current law without greater certainty as to the outcome of Congress' debate on automatic cuts to programs such as ours.  Because the swings we could experience in federal funding are so wide, our 2013 proposed budget is likely to be an interim budget that will require amendment in the first or second quarter next year."

Seattle Housing will host a public hearing on the proposed budget on September 17th from 3:00 – 4:30 PM in the Jesse Epstein Conference Room on the first floor of Seattle Housing's Central Office, 190 Queen Anne Avenue North, to hear from interested residents and others regarding the budget and the annual Moving to New Ways (MTW) Plan.  The public comment period on both the 2013 Proposed Budget and the MTW Plan will extend to the end of the business day on Monday, October 1.

Comments may be emailed to Beka Smith at bsmith@seattlehousing.org, mailed to her at Seattle Housing Authority, 190 Queen Anne Avenue North, PO Box 19028, Seattle WA 98109-1028, or she can be reached by phone at (206) 615-3576.