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Good news from the Section 8 battlefield: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has agreed to restore $6 million in 2004 rental voucher funding to New York City. “It’s a sign that the mayor’s letters and calls have been heeded and our lobbying efforts have made a difference,” said housing commissioner Shaun Donovan, fresh from a trip to Washington D.C. With another $49 million in cuts to the city’s Section 8 funding still on appeal, Donovan said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the feds will fully fund the program. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee appears to have put the Bush administration’s “flexible voucher” proposal on ice. The plan would have allowed housing authorities to raise rents or institute time limits in order to save cash. Barbara Sard, director of housing policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, said the proposal was unlikely to appear in the Senate’s budget and so was “basically dead for this year.” But the House budget is far from perfect, Sard points out: While Section 8 was fully funded, it includes significant cuts to housing for homeless people, seniors, Native Americans, people with disabilities and people with AIDS. [08/02/04]