Federal cuts hit housing programs for the poor

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Thousands of the state’s poorest residents are losing or being denied federal housing subsidies as the result of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, forcing many to choose between food, rent, medicine — or the streets.

The cuts are pummeling the Section 8 voucher program, which offers assistance to poor individuals and families renting apartments in the open market. The Boston Housing Authority has stopped issuing new vouchers after absorbing $10 million in Section 8 voucher cuts, and by fall it could end subsidies for more than 10 percent of the 11,000 households already receiving vouchers.

“Sequestration has been devastating,” said Lydia Agro, spokeswoman for the BHA. “We’ve never been in this situation — we’ve never had to cut people off the program.”

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