Billings Loses Over $750,000 In Funding For Housing Help From HUD
Today, HomeFront in Billings announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has clawed back over $750,000 in funding for housing assistance in Billings, Montana alone.
Section 8 Takes A Hit
According to the release, a total of $762,698 will be clawed back from the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, known as Section 8, due to Billings experiencing a shortage of qualified and affordable housing in the Billings area.
Federal housing assistance is used to subsidize rents for qualified families, and that money is paid directly to private landlords in our community. HCV-qualified families pay between 30% and 40% of their monthly adjusted income toward their rent.
Right now, the need for housing is steadily rising in Billings, with over 7000 people on the waiting list for housing assistance. Many of those families are coming from situations where they have been suddenly unhoused, lost their jobs, or even are starting over after a domestic violence event.
CEO of HomeFront, Patti Webster, called this an unfortunate situation:
“This is a very unfortunate situation, and we are surprised that HUD has made this decision to retain the offset funds needed in our community. This makes an already difficult situation harder and directly impacts our ability to find housing for those approved for HCV. We, as a community, are going to have to accept some tough realities and accountability as the affordable housing crisis continues. HomeFront is doing everything we can, including trying to raise the voucher amounts to be more competitive, looking at new housing developments we can partner in, and being innovative in addressing this community crisis. HomeFront has paid an incentive of $500 to landlords for each new HCV lease up over the last year and a half for leasing up new HCV participants. This has totaled over $83,000.00. What we really need is help from our local community landlords. If they could just allocate 20-25% of their inventory towards HCV, this would allow us to get back on track, and get this very vulnerable population into appropriate housing.”
Why Are The Funds Being Retracted?
HomeFront was underutilizing its funds. HomeFront states this does not affect its current ability to continue with the HCV program, but this will create limitations for being competitive in our current housing market.
If you'd like to learn more about HomeFront, and what the organization does for our local community, click the button below.
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