We’re now three weeks into this frustrating government shutdown and low-income, vulnerable Americans are the ones who stand to lose the most – their homes. It’s impossible to know how this will end, but the longer it drags on, the worse it gets. We’ve already seen that contracts expired on 1,100 Section 8 properties nationally, including many in Ohio. Here’s what we know so far:
- About 7,000 HUD employees are furloughed (not working), which is almost the entire department, including those who administer homeless and low-income housing programs;
- Project-based Rental Assistance contracts have already or will expire within weeks for 77 projects in Ohio. This jeopardizes the housing stability of the low-income Ohioans living in nearly 2,000 units. Two thirds of these people are low-income seniors or people with disabilities;
- Continued funding for federally supported homeless programs, such as CBDG and HOME, are at risk if the shutdown persists and HUD needs to transfer funds among its different programs in order to operate;
- The shutdown has also negatively impacted the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) within HUD. For example, we know about a newly constructed FHA-financed project that can’t lease up because nobody is available at FHA to finalize the required paperwork.
- The shutdown jeopardizes earlier bipartisan budget agreements to boost funding for homeless and housing programs as the administration and congressional negotiators search for a solution to reopen the government.
The U.S. House passed legislation Thursday to reopen HUD and other agencies outside the Department of Homeland Security. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus) joined Ohio Democrats in voting for the bill, which now goes to the U.S. Senate.
You can help by contacting Ohio’s senators and asking them to support House-passed legislation to reopen HUD and other government agencies. Call Sen. Rob Portman’s office at 202-224-3353 and Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office at 202-224-2315. Sen. Portman is viewed as a key figure in the shutdown negotiations and Sen. Brown has already been in touch with us about concerns regarding the effect on critical HUD programs.
Tell the senators to help end the government shutdown by supporting full-year spending bills that provide full funding for HUD’s housing and homeless programs as soon as possible. You could also contact Rep. Stivers’ office to thank him for supporting passage of the HUD-funding bill: 202-225-2015.
Our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition have more information on the shutdown and which projects are at-risk in the near-term.
Meanwhile, we’re monitoring the impacts of the shutdown on Ohioans’ housing security. If you’ve seen other ways the HUD shutdown is affecting people in your community, please contact our Advocacy Director Gina Wilt.