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

These little piggies stay home

Norman, who was spotted last week in Everett, is part of a trio kept as pets by the “pig whisperer.”

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Woman, 47, found dead in Marysville jail cell

She’d been in custody about four days after being arrested on warrants, police said.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital accepting adolescent patients

The facility is the first mental heallth unit in the county to offer in-patient services for children.

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Teen murder suspect captured — then escapes and is recaptured

The 16-year-old is one of at least three young suspects in the shooting death of an Everett woman.

Most Read