4 Million Low-Income Households Could be Affected by Government Shutdown

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With HUD and USDA shutdown, the number of low-income households affected by the government shutdown — as well as the local jurisdictions managing affordable housing and related programs — increases daily.

Members of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) have reached out to congressional leaders about the effects of the government shutdown on affordable housing and community development programs impacting low-income households.

More than four million households that depend on HUD’s rental assistance and other programs may become destablilized, according to CHCDF. While public housing authorities received January funding and expect to receive February funding, a continued shutdown means they will not be able to make rent subsidy payments to landlords for March 1st, meaning tenants could face eviction.

Upwards of 85,000 households — the elderly or people with disabilities — are already affected by 1,150 Section 8 project-based assistance contracts up for renewal and suspended as of January 3rd, according to CHCDF’s Impacts of Government Shutdown on Affordable Housing Programs fact sheet that can be reviewed and downloaded below. The number of expiring contracts would increase in January and February.

“The partial government shutdown is a disaster for the millions of low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities who depend on HUD assistance for safe, stable housing,” said Council of Large Public Housing Authorities Executive Director Sunia Zaterman in the congressional letter from CHCDF. “Funding uncertainty puts more than two million voucher households at risk of losing their homes, and a lack of operating fund payments will force public housing authorities to shut units that cannot be repaired or properly maintained.”

CHCDF, a coalition led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, also addressed how the government shutdown thwarts critical investments in local communities and in affordable and accessible housing for low-income families while creating widespread uncertainty for affordable housing investors.

Each day the shutdown deadlock endangers service delivery to people that rely on public housing and related public services, like heat assistance, healthcare and supportive services, according to the original NLIHC announcement.

A continued government shutdown affects affordable housing programs and funding in the following ways:

  • HUD has proposed that private owners plan to use their rainy day funds to cover housing payment shortfalls.
  • Section 202 funding halts endanger the elderly.
  • The USDA rural rental assistance program payments for January are still an unknown while heating assistance is suspended and construction of related affordable housing projects is stopped.
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships grant programs are at a stand-still and local jurisdictions may not be reimbursed for program and project expenses. The capital backlog at public housing authorities needing critical repairs or upgrades affects 2 million residents.
  • Homeless programs being halted could result in a gap in critical services.
  • The Federal Housing Administration has an estimated unpaid balance of $13.5 billion in insured debt for project-based Section 8 contracts.

“The average older adult in HUD’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program has an annual income of $13,300, an income far too little to make ends meet in any private housing market. More than 400,000 older adults rely on the Section 202 program, while another 1.2 million rely on other HUD programs for housing assistance. We urge Congress and the White House to end the shutdown so that each of these 1.6 million older adults have the stable housing they need to age with dignity,”  said LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan.

“This shutdown is hurting families across the country whether or not they work for the federal government and prolonging it will make matters worse,” said NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman. “Capital expenses that require approval from HUD employees are left undone, and housing vouchers are not reaching families in need as housing agencies curtail additional spending. We should be especially concerned about the public- and private-sector landlords in the project-based rental assistance program who are left without funding and/or contract renewals. Those who can are already dipping into their reserves to make repairs and respond to their residents’ needs, but these reserves only go so far. This is unacceptable. End the shutdown.”

Review and download the CHCDF fact sheet:

FY19 Shutdown Factsheet by on Scribd

Access the complete CHCDF letter outlining the impact of the shutdown on the NLIHC website.

Learn more and get a list of expiring HUD contracts for project-based Section 8 properties:

Read what happens at HUD in a government shutdown:

HUD in The Government Shutdown

Learn more about Section 8:

The Pockmarked Road From Homeless to Section 8 Housing

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.