Cuts impact city’s low-income program

CARLSBAD — Due to federal funding cuts, Carlsbad is unable to support its full number of rental assistance units as hundreds of low-income individuals wait for years to receive assistance from the program, according to a city housing official. 

Carlsbad is allocated 703 rental assistance units by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said City Housing Program Manager Bobbi Nunn.

But last year, the city was only able to support an average of 600 units per month as funding from the HUD has decreased in recent years.

Through Carlsbad’s rental assistance program, low-income families contribute about 30 percent of their income towards rent while the housing agency pays the rest directly to the residence’s owner.

On average, the program pays about $820 per family per month, Nunn said.

To support all of the 703 units, the city would need about $6.9 million in federal funds, yet the city only received $5.8 million for 2012, she said.

“We still do not know what our allocation will be for (calendar year) 2013, other than we’ve been advised that it will be less than CY2012,” said Nunn.

The HUD’s budget for the 2013 fiscal year provides $640 million less in total funds for rental assistance programs than the year before, according to the HUD’s budget report.

It has been years since HUD funding has been able to finance all of the city’s allocated rental assistance units, according to Nunn.

Due to the ongoing decrease of funds, the high number of applicants, and the cost of reviewing applications, Carlsbad closed its waiting list for its rental assistance in October 2005.

When the list was first closed, the city had more than 2,000 applicants, Nunn said. Over the years, the city has gradually whittled down the waiting list to about 550 applicants today.

While the city’s rental assistance program is fully funded by the HUD, Carlsbad also has 19 other affordable housing developments as an option for low-income families.

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