King Co. suspends housing vouchers as sequester takes effect

SEATTLE — The automatic federal budget cuts that kicked in Friday prompted the King County Housing Authority to suspend the distribution of some housing assistance vouchers.

The agency announced Thursday that it will stop re-issuing rental assistance vouchers that are turned in by people who no longer need them. Normally, those vouchers would then go to people on a waiting list.

About 50 vouchers are re-issued to new people in their Section 8 House Choice program every month, said spokeswoman Rhonda Rosenberg.

Friday saw no progress in the budget standoff between President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders. They met for less than an hour.

The cuts will begin carving $85 billion of government spending by day’s end.

Obama and congressional Republicans are deeply at odds over how to tackle the country’s $16.6 trillion debt, and they have been battling over that issue since the opposition party regained a majority in the House of Representatives more than two years ago.

The budget reductions were structured to be so unattractive that both sides would be forced to find a better deal. They haven’t.

Back in King County, if the current budget situation holds for a year, it will cost the Housing Authority about $6.3 million, Rosenberg said.

This is “a pre-emptive action that we’re taking at this point because we don’t want to run out of subsidies and run out of available funds,” Rosenberg said. “We want to ensure people who are in the program their assistance is not disrupted.”

Rosenberg said the affected wait list has 2,500 people. She said that people who already receive vouchers are not in imminent jeopardy of losing rental help.

“The longer this goes on, the more families will fall through the safety net,” said Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority, in a statement.

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Woman fatally shot at home near Everett

Another woman and three children, who were also in the home, were not injured.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Most Read