The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released plans to close 16 field offices. For Americans that seek in-person assistance from housing authorities, June was a devastating month. The offices set for foreclosure are located in areas that have a higher concentration of foreclosures, meaning services are more readily required and needed.
While the housing authority primarily focuses on handling placements for Americans that are homeless or who have been evicted from their homes, the government’s plan to close offices in the next four months will have a significant impact on several key areas. Four of the offices that are slated for closure serve eight primary U.S. cities that also have the highest foreclosure rates nationwide.
The government’s press release states the decisions were “based on the business needs of the Department,” and did not take into consideration discriminatory practices against cities that have been hit hard by the economic financial crisis. The government, however, highlights statistics that show that 10-percent of HUD cases are handled in person, with the majority being resolved via telephone or online inquiries.
The government also lays out a transition plan that includes consolidating HUD’s 50-state program into 10 central offices throughout the nation. The White House states this reduction has been anticipated for several years, while opponents wag their fingers and blame the government’s sequester-related issues. HUD states it will incur cost savings between $51 million and $65 million per year based on the projected reorganizations.
This reorganization does require that approximately 10-percent of HUD’s workforce relocate. Additional options for those not considering relocation include retiring or receiving a federal buyout of up to $25,000. Since nearly 40-percent of HUD’s workforce will be eligible for retirement benefits in three years, HUD is hoping the buyout option appeals to more employees.
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