Cumberland County freezes its housing voucher program

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – Cumberland County’s housing voucher program is frozen amidst the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts. No one in Cumberland County can apply for vouchers or get off the wait list.

It’s been a long journey for Amanda Shanafelter, who has an intellectual disability and has been relying on others for 34 years.

“I worked so hard to get where I’m at,” Shanafelter said.

She’s getting ready to graduate from a yearlong program that taught her skills to live independently.

“I was out looking for a house yesterday,” Shanafelter said. “Then James called and said it’s being cut. And I’m like, ‘what is going on?'”

James Witmer is the program coordinator for United Cerebral Palsy that housed and helped Shanafelter the past year.

“The three residents that were there right now were in the process of having their HUD vouchers supplied to them, and now they are back on the waiting list,” Witmer said.

Tim Whelan at the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority says they are not accepting new applications at this point and they are slowing down new lease-ups.

“It really depends upon our friends in Washington,” Whelan said.

President Trump’s budget proposal suggests a six percent cut in funding to the federal Housing Choice Voucher program. It supplies a grant that pays for Cumberland County’s vouchers, which allow a roof overhead 1,300 families that have members with disabilities, senior citizens or are low income.

The current wait list in Cumberland County is 800 people and 18 months long.

“We are anticipating that it may impact 100 families or so here,” Whelan said.

Like the wait list, Shanafelter is now stuck.

“I want to move out,” she said. “I’m an independent woman!”

There is no telling if or when this voucher freeze will be lifted until the federal budget passes later this year.

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