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Group Protests Sec. 8 Housing Cuts in Madison Co.

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – A community activist group says it's trying to prevent some 130 Madison County families from becoming homeless. The families are in danger of losing their federal housing assistance.

In June, the Madison County Housing Authority began telling its clients on Section 8 assistance that their vouchers would be cancelled due to budget constraints.

About 30 families slated for cancellation in August were deferred until next month as the housing authority tries to secure more funding.

But John Williams with the group ACORN says the funding was allocated last year.

"HUD is holding the money," Williams said. "They need to have the money released. It's putting stress and a nervous condition on people you're going to put them out; you're going to make the people homeless."

The housing authority must bring in $400,000 by the end of the year to keep the vouchers in place.

Executive director John Hamm says they're now trying to protect clients who could be cut from September through November.

"The key to this is, how many vouchers do we have to come down to balance the budget?" Hamm said. "It might be 30 or 40. On the worst scenario, it's the 132 that we were looking at. But those numbers are changing kind of daily in here right now, so we're hoping September is going to bring some conclusion to this."

Hamm says his office will not shut down the entire Section 8 program. He says he's hoping to hear from the Department of Housing and Urban Development next week.

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