Houston Housing Authority losing $7M in federal government funding


The Houston Housing Authority says it's losing $7 million in funding, and low-income families will take the brunt of the pain.

Every chop is like a clock ticking for Tamara Caston. The recent college graduate and new catering company owner says rent for her and her 16-year-old son is about to go up about $300 a month.

"Trying to put him through school and then he's going to start college," Caston said. "I mean, I'm already doing the best I can. That's why I furthered my education to go back to school."

Caston lives at the brightly-colored Bray's Crossing just off the Gulf Freeway. Rent here is subsidized by the Houston Housing Authority, which serves 17,000 families in our area.

But the Houston Housing Authority is funded by the federal government, which is under a sequester, so the agency is losing 5 percent of its annual budget this year.

"The board of commissioners had to decide: Do we serve fewer people, or do we serve the people that we have and the commitments and just provide less money?" said Tory Gunsolley, president of the Houston Housing Authority. "And that's what we've decided to do."

That means many single-parent families, like Caston and her son who are currently subsidized for two rooms, will now be subsidized for only one room.

"I'm really in shock," Caston said. "Just hoping that this is really something that can be done about this."

Caston said some of her neighbors will be forced to drop out of school to afford the higher rent.

"With housing setting standards to try to give you goals to reach, and then and it's so disappointing that you get to that point and then it's like the rug is pulled right up under you," she said.

Officials tell us that if the squester stays, Houston Housing Authority stands to lose a lot more money over the next 10 years.

Find Pooja on Facebook at PoojaLodhia-Reporter or on Twitter at @impoojalodhia

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