Housing Authority in GarCo scores additional rent aid

The Garfield County Housing Authority will receive the federal funding it needs it continue providing rental assistance for 76 families, nearly three weeks after those families were notified they would be cut from the assistance program.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., announced Tuesday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will grant the Housing Authority the funding it requested to make up for a budget shortfall. Roughly $340,000 will come from a fund that provides assistance to housing authorities during times of financial hardship and unforeseen circumstances.

“It is great news,” Housing Authority Executive Director Geneva Powell said. “It’s a relief to the staff, and it’s a tremendous benefit to the 76 families and a load off their minds.”

Bennet and U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., wrote a letter to HUD on Aug. 6, urging it to free up money. HUD originally declined to assist the Housing Authority with money from a $100 million set-aside fund intended to help housing authorities during financial hardship.

The Housing Authority had mailed letters to randomly selected families, indicating their assistance would end in October due to a $52,000 a month shortfall in federal funding.

Powell said the gap was created when the federal government allowed the housing authority to pay more in rent in response to rising rents but didn’t provide additional funding to cover the rent costs.

Powell said the additional $340,000 will carry the Housing Authority through the end of this year and into the beginning of 2010.

She said the Housing Authority has been told it will receive more money in 2010 than the $2.1 million it originally received this year.


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