The U.S. Housing and Urban Development office in Tucson is closing, along with another 15 of its 80 field offices this fall.
HUD estimates the closures will save the agency more than $100 million during the next 10 years.
The offices were suppose to close in September but that date is not firm because the department is negotiating with employee unions, said Jerry Brown, a HUD spokesman.
The HUD field offices serve people seeking information about the agency's programs, including housing vouchers and grant applications for revitalization and development.
Overall, the agency estimates 120 employees will be affected by the closures. These employees have the option of relocation, retiring early if they are eligible or taking $25,000 buyouts.
Brown said these closures are not due to sequestration.
“We used to have kiosks in libraries and malls as a way of communicating but as the way people actually come into HUD for information and the information that they come into HUD for changes … we get more hits on the web by far than we do walk-in traffic,” Brown said. “Some of the offices that are being closed are averaging two to four people walking in per week.”
HUD’s Tucson office employs six people.
HUD will also close three offices in California. These locations are in the department’s Region 9, which encompasses Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. A HUD official said these closures affect about 22 employees.
HUD estimates the department will save nearly $5 million annually by closing these small western offices.
People who want to visit a HUD office in Arizona will have to travel to Phoenix, Brown said.