Due to a budget shortfall brought on by the Federal budget sequester, Macon County commissioners voted to allocate Macon Program for Progress (MPP) $13,000 in emergency funds.
The $13,000 requested by MPP Executive Director Chuck Sutton, is needed for administrative costs associated with operating the HUD section 8 Rental Assistance Program.
This is the second time commissioners have allocated emergency funds to the program due to a budget shortfall as a result of the sequester. In June, MPP requested $12,000 in anticipation of 30 percent of federal funds being deterred. That request was made based on projected funding levels through the calendar year of 2013. Since the sequester, funding levels have not returned to original amounts, causing another shortfall in administration funds.
“We feel strongly that this important program continue to deliver housing services to cities of Macon County,” read a letter sent to commissioners by Garry Roper, HUD Section 8 program coordinator. “MPP is again asking for support from Macon County to supplement the funding of administrative services in the HUD program. MPP respectfully requests an additional $13,000 to help fund the HUD program the remainder of this fiscal year.”
Sutton explained to commissioners that the budget shortfall is because funds are still being held on the federal level. Although Sutton explained he was told not to expect funding to be returned to original levels, Commissioner Ronnie Beale said Congressman Mark Meadows was adamant that the funds would soon be made available.
MPP’s HUD program provides rental assistance to property owners on behalf of its clients — those who are considered to be low income, many of whom are elderly or are disabled and unable to provide for their own housing needs.
Last June, Sutton reported that the funding for rental assistance is around $53,000 a month which supports 142 payments which average about $371 per client. HUD provides $5,800 each month for administrative costs.
Two staff members receive pay as well as benefits and office space. Excess administrative funds may be used for rental assistance. However, in the event that there are excess rental assistance funds, the excess funds are not to be used for administrative purposes.
Sutton assured commissioners that MPP had taken every measure possible to save money and reduce overall operational expenses, but in order to keep the program running, MPP would need funds from the county.
Explaining the need for the HUD program, Sutton noted that they have had to stop accepting new applications because there is more than a two-year waiting list already.
Commissioner Paul Higdon expressed his disappointment in local government being asked to provide funding for programs designated by the federal government.
In a 4-1 vote in favor of allocating $13,000 out of the county’s contingency funds to help MPP continue operations, commissioners approved the measure. Hidgon cast the opposing vote.