In a reaction to the federal budget reduction known as the sequester, the Allegheny County Housing Authority today laid off 13 people.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is only providing $10.3 million of the $13 million the authority needs to conduct normal operations, said Frank Aggazio, the county housing agency's executive director.
HUD is also providing only 68.5 percent of the money needed to run the Section 8 rent voucher program, he said.
As a result, the authority laid off three Section 8 counselors, one inspector, four assistant managers, two secretaries, one electrical inspector, one development inspector and a finance clerk, he said.
Some improvements will be put on hold, he said. "We're going to slow that down, delay some of those projects," he said, including a planned $3 million update to the Truman High Rise in Duquesne. "Curb appeal items, we'll probably do less than that and probably concentrate more on actual maintenance. I think response time will be reduced somewhat."
Residents, he said, "have a sense of security when they see a manager in the office every day. [Managers are] going to be spread around thin now to cover as much space as possible."
"People can still apply for public housing," he said. The cuts will "buy us time through the end of the fiscal year."
He said he will travel to Washington next week and meet with legislators as part of a coordinated action by public housing directors aimed at winning regulatory reforms. "I'm going to tell them, give us regulatory relief if we're only going to get funded at this level."
Rich Lord: email@example.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord