Fresno HUD office gets the axe

FRESNO, Calif.

The agency is going through a national restructuring plan to cut costs. The Fresno office of Housing & Urban Development in Downtown Fresno has helped countless of people in the Central Valley from losing their homes during the housing crisis. But its own doors will soon close as part of a restructuring plan announced by the federal agency.

"Unfortunately by closing the Fresno office, it shows me that the government doesn't care that much about the Central Valley," said John Shore with the Community Housing Council of Fresno.

John Shore heads the local organization that provides foreclosure counseling and is directly funded by HUD. "The counseling will still be available, I just think it will still be a little harder for people to find us," said Shore.

The federal agency helps low-income people afford homes and avoid foreclosures. While the HUD resources will still be available, the closest offices will be in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"Sadly, the Valley, during this recession has led in foreclosure rates around the country," said Congressmen Jim Costa.

The congressman sent a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, blasting the administration's decision to close Fresno and 15 other offices nationwide. The closures are estimated to save more than $100 million over a 10-year period.

"I know that we have to make cuts. Clearly that's part of the reality of what we're dealing. But I think these cuts are ill advised, and inappropriate and unfair to our Valley," said Costa.

And while people will still be able to turn to local housing agencies to get HUD assistance, for many, the closure just seems incomprehensible. The Fresno office will close sometime this fall and affect four employees.

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