“This has hit housing authorities across the nation, some much harder than what’s happened here,” said Peter Zovak, deputy director of housing with the city.
The move — which is reminiscent of state funding grabs Glendale is currently grappling with — will force the city’s Department of Community Development and Housing to use attrition to freeze 25 of its 1,573 authorized vouchers, Zovak said. Usually, when a voucher becomes available, it is transferred to a resident on the wait list.
While no new vouchers will be administered in Glendale, other cities are actually reducing their allotments. San Bernardino is cutting its rolls by 500, city officials said.
“It’s really a last-resort tool and it’s not something that’s necessary here,” Zovak said.
But at Tuesday’s Redevelopment Agency meeting, council members pledged to fight the funding reduction, which Councilman Ara Najarian called “inhumane and unfair.”
He campaigned on the need for more affordable housing earlier this year, and said he heard repeatedly that there was a dire need for even more housing vouchers.
“And now we have to reduce them by 25,” Najarian said.
The City Council set the stage for a formal resolution opposing the cuts at future meeting.
“This is going to hurt the people who are least able to advocate for themselves,” said Councilwoman Laura Friedman.
HUD officials acknowledged the challenges cities will face as a result of the reductions, but held firm on the cuts.
“I know from experience how much of a challenge it is to manage this important program, especially during a recession,” Assistant Secretary Sandra Henriquez said in a news release.
City officials estimate that the freezing of the 25 vouchers should take about five months, which is anticipated to nearly deplete the remaining program reserves by December.
City Manager Jim Starbird warned that if further funding reductions occur, countless more vouchers could be affected.