Critical federal housing programs, including rental assistance, public housing, and HOME, face big cuts through sequestration if Congress fails to enact a plan to reduce the deficit.

Sequestration would trigger an 8.2 percent cut to a number of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, according to a new report released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This includes reductions of $1.5 billion to tenant-based rental assistance, $154 million to the public housing capital fund, and $82 million to the HOME program, estimates OMB.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition calculates that more than 185,000 households would lose their tenant-based rental assistance vouchers, 92,400 households would lose their project-based rental assistance housing, and that 145,900 people who have been homeless would lose an opportunity for housing instead of being housed under the Homeless Assistance Grant program.

In addition, more than 140,000 currently housed households that include an elderly person or a person with a disability would receive reduced unit maintenance and lower levels of supportive services in units funded by the Sec. 202 seniors housing program or Sec. 811 for people with disabilities, says NLIHC.

The threat of across-the-board cuts was meant to drive a compromise in Congress. “The sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented,” explains OMB. “The administration strongly believes that sequestration is bad policy, and that Congress can and should take action to avoid it by passing a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction package.”

The report describes sequestration as a “blunt and indiscriminate instrument.”

The Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 requires the president to submit to Congress a report on the sequestration for fiscal 2013 that is scheduled to be ordered Jan. 2, 2013.