THE BRONX - Hundreds of tenants and some elected officials rallied Wednesday to save the city's much-needed Section 8 housing running in the face of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development deficit.

HUD is facing a whopping $2.4 billion deficit for the program, which houses 90,000 New York City families. The program pays landlords the difference between rent a tenant pays and a unit's market rate value, keeping housing affordable.

The National Housing Trust estimates that unless the shortfall is remedied, as many as 500,000 families will be displaced nationally.

A tenant at Morris Heights Mews says that late HUD payments have already resulted in maintenance and safety issues at the building. Management reportedly told the woman that it could only afford to pay one porter to clean three buildings, leaving some tenants to mop up hallways.

Representatives Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler joined others for a rally Wednesday evening at Judson Memorial Church at 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan to face the issue head-on.