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Sequester Still Punishes the Poor

poor child
IMG: via Shutterstock

The failure of Congress to pass a budget is being felt by the poorest Americans, as cuts to subsidized housing groups continue.  The Budget Control Act, commonly known as the sequester, has slashed a trillion dollars in federal funding to public programs across the board.  The New York City Housing Authority, (NYCHA), the nation’s largest public housing authority, announced that over 200 million dollars in funding have been lost since the sequester took effect on March 1st.  Overall, as many as 150,000 households that rely on vouchers to pay rent could be affected by the cuts.  Most housing authorities are dealing with the cuts through canceling new vouchers that were due to be issued this summer.  Other units may have to raise rent or default on mortgages.

John Rhea said in a press release that the mandatory cuts “severely hinder” the work of the housing authority.  The NYCHA chairman continued by assuring residents the commitment to maintain their developments and meet the goals to eliminate the backlog of repair requests this year.  Other ways the organization is dealing with budget cuts have included lay-offs, a hiring freeze and possible furloughs.  The plan to issue 5,000 new vouchers had to be canceled.

The voucher program for subsidized housing began with programs created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development during President Nixon’s term.  This is the first time the program has experienced any significant cuts.  The vouchers make it possible for low income households, especially seniors or those who are disabled, to be able to afford private rental housing.  If the vouchers are lost, it is possible many will lose their apartments and become homeless or institutionalized.  Some building owners rely on the vouchers to keep their building running, and some landlords also worry about defaulting on their loans.  This could put thousands of people on the streets and threaten the safety and health of not only New York, but cities across the country.

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Former Enron Gas Trader Moves to Make the World Better

LJAF
IMG: via http arnoldfoundation.org

At forty years old, John Arnold is one of the highest profiting hedgefund managers of all time.  John and Laura Arnold are worth an estimated $4 billion dollars and plan on giving all of their wealth away to charity.  After managing his fund out of Houston for several years before closing in 2012, one could look at his story and wonder if it was all some sort of diabolically genius plan to take from the rich and give to the poor.

John Arnold’s approach to philanthropy is different than many charitable billionaires.  A month ago, he agreed to fund a $26 million study on obesity, after speaking with dozens of top experts to identify exactly what kind of study would provide specific, quantifiable results.  He believes the right way to make major changes is through funding the best possible science and data projects, then shifting to putting pressure on policy makers to use the science to implement positive social change.  In a world that is shifting to specific details in marketing and nonprofit interaction, The Laura and John Arnold Foundation chooses to focus on the big picture: research on criminal justice, education, and nutrition.

For John Arnold’s entire profile, click here.