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Central Valley HUD office could close soon

It's bad news for some local residents. They'll now have to travel hundreds of miles to get HUD services. Local homeless advocates also say the closure is a bad thing.
The Fresno field office for Housing and Urban Development is slated to close.  One Valley congressman claims the closure is because of the federal sequester.

It's bad news for some local residents.  They'll now have to travel hundreds of miles to get HUD services.  Local homeless advocates also said the closure is a bad thing.

Valley Congressman Jim Costa believes the closure of the Fresno office is going to hurt many people right here in the Valley. He even recently fired off a letter to the secretary of HUD.

In a recent letter to HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, Congressman Costa said Donovan's response to budget cuts are inapropriate.

"It's misguided, ill advised and I believe it must be reconsidered," said Congressman Costa.

Congressman Costa says the closure forces Valley residents to drive more than 200 miles to the only three field offices that would be left in the state. He said it hurts people in the Valley who need one-on-one help with forclosures and loan assistance.

"Our region was not taken into consideration.  The foreclosure rate in the Valley is 40% higher than it is in the rest of the state," said Congressman Costa.

However, local real estate brokers don't believe the move will affect them.

"The local HUD office downtown doesn't provide really any practical services for real estate brokers, so I can't imagine it's going to interrupt the brokers business at all," said real estate broker, Andrew Kucera.

Regional HUD spokesperson in San Fransisco says it's a decision made to make better use of their resources and adds it's not going to impact services to Valley communities.

Gregory Barfield is the Homeless Prevention Manager for the City of Fresno and disagrees.  He said all kinds of assistance comes from the Fresno HUD office.

"Pointing people in the right direction when it comes to homeless services.  Maybe it's about home-ownership, maybe it's about foreclosure issues," said Barfield.

Congressman Costa maintains his position and urges the secretary of HUD to reevaluate his decision.

In total, the closure of 16 offices across the country could start as early as this fall.

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