Automatic across the board federal budget cuts, also known as sequestration could be having a very negative impact on Garden State housing programs. That’s message Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. is trying to spread. He insists the sequester has caused housing authorities to nearly stop issuing new rent vouchers.

“In these times we should increase access to affordable housing through these programs, not slash them,” said Pallone. “That’s why I am so frustrated by Republicans in Congress and members of the Tea Party who refuse to stop the mindless budget cuts.”

To get the word out, Pallone has hosted three town hall meetings with residents at senior complexes operated by the Long Branch Housing Authority.

Nationwide, the Housing Choice Voucher program helps over 2 million low-income households to rent at an affordable cost. The average household income of families receiving the vouchers is $12,500. Pallone says, because of federal budget cuts, many newly issued vouchers have been rescinded, leaving some people homeless.

“People need affordable places to live to help put them on track to the middle class, and it is wrong that the GOP slash and burn sequester is putting people out on the street,” insisted Pallone. “Congress must reverse these cuts and work together to come up with a budget that grows the middle class instead of one that takes the roof over people’s heads.”