Sequester Affordable Housing
Federal spending cuts to the Grand Junction Housing Authority would affect the agency’s two projects designed for elderly and disabled populations. Ratekin Tower, 875 Main St., which features 107 apartments for senior citizens, and a cluster of cozy apartments at Walnut Park Apartments, 2236 N. 17th St. are funded solely with federal funds, Housing Authority Executive Director Jody Kole said. Residents in those apartments pay about one- third of their incomes for housing.
Funding cutbacks, currently estimated between 5 and 8 percent, may mean cutting staff members, which would also mean cutting back on the number of housing vouchers the agency can provide. Each person or family who receives a voucher is assigned a case worker who follows up with clients.
“We have mortgages that we have to pay. We have to keep the lights on,” Kole said. “Those properties would struggle.”
A 5 percent cut, for example, would mean 50 fewer vouchers, or 50 fewer individuals or families whom the agency could house.
“It will be tricky on a lot of organizations,” Kole said. “I think we take for granted that a lot of services will be there.”
Federal cuts would also mean less money for a home weatherization program operated by Housing Resources of Western Colorado, according to Executive Director Dan Whalen. A 5 percent cut, for example, would mean about 10 homes or apartments the agency wouldn’t be able to weatherize.
“The cuts will hurt everybody,” he said. “Even unemployment. That affects our program. More people will need our program, but less people will have access to it.”