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Don't Add More Homeless

The Clinton administration may have discarded much of its liberal agenda, but some items on that agenda refuse to stay deleted. For example, federally subsidized housing for the poor.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo is vigorously lobbying Congress to boost funding for his department's Section 8 voucher program, which helps pay the rent for some 6.4 million Americans. Mr. Cuomo says that unless funding is increased to renew the Section 8 contracts currently in effect, millions of people could find themselves homeless over the next year.

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The secretary's warning of impending crisis is getting a sympathetic response from lawmakers. While there will be congressional resistance to giving HUD the extra $5.6 billion requested by Cuomo, a sense of responsibility should prevail. The federal "safety net" should not be stripped of its housing strands.

HUD is justifiably doing its share of belt tightening with smaller overall budgets, smaller staffs, and less waste. But its programs still address some crucial needs, which the nation can't afford to ignore.

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