Faced with a $500,000 budget shortfall, the Madison Community Development Authority has asked the federal government for permission to reduce its subsidy for Section 8 housing vouchers to the poor.
"There really isn't much additional money going into the program at a time when costs are going up because of the economy," says Tom Conrad, the CDA's Section 8 manager.
Section 8 housing has always been limited in Madison. The waiting list is usually closed, but was opened briefly in 2007. There are now about 2,000 people on the waiting list, Conrad says, with 1,400 people getting vouchers.
People with Section 8 vouchers pay 30% of their income toward the cost of an apartment on the private market; the voucher covers the rest, up to a certain level.
CDA now subsidizes rents that are up to 110% of the market average. To meet its funding shortfall, it wants to lower that to 90%, which requires the approval of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For a two-bedroom apartment, the current rent maximum is $931; with HUD approval, that would drop to $762. "If you're lucky enough to live in a place that costs less than $762, you won't notice any difference," Conrad says.
If you're unlucky, you'll have to pay more for your apartment or find a new place to live.