While some impacts of the now four-week federal government shutdown have been immediate, others are looming – and many are unknown. Advocacy groups across the country have been tracking the shutdown’s impacts on the ability of families and individuals to afford their homes.
Severe impacts for people and properties with HUD Project-based Rental Assistance
Of immediate and growing concern are impacts to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) project-based rental assistance program, which serves over one million people in the United States. This program provides funds to help make privately-owned properties affordable by paying for a portion of residents’ rent. To receive this rental assistance, property owners must renew their contract with HUD each year. As of January 5, HUD failed to renew 650 Section 8 Project-Based rental assistance contracts that had expired in December prior to the shutdown, impacting 21,500 low-wealth households. In January and February, HUD anticipates another 1,050 contracts will expire.
While HUD is looking for funds to renew these contracts, there are few staff available to solve the problem. Only 300 of HUD’s 7,000 employees are reporting to work. In March, rental assistance program payments will cease, putting millions of households at risk of displacement and homelessness.
Read a factsheet on impacts of the government shutdown on affordable housing programs, and learn more from the National Low Income Housing Coalition by visiting their website and listening to a national call recorded January 15. Read a recent piece by Finance & Commerce on the shutdown’s impact on affordable housing development.
You can help.
Call your lawmakers and urge them to end the government shutdown by passing full-year spending bills that provide strong funding levels to affordable housing programs as soon as possible. Find your elected officials.
Do you have stories to share about how the shutdown is impacting you, your organization, or affordable housing? Contact Elizabeth Glidden, who is tracking impacts to share with policymakers.
Advocates and legislators are taking action
Thank you to Minnesota lawmakers Representative Angie Craig (2nd Congressional District) and Representative Ilhan Omar (5th Congressional District) for signing a letter to President Trump, authored by Senator Mark Warner, expressing concern about the harmful impacts of the government shutdown on the ability of Americans to afford their homes.
Shutdown highlights lack of safeguards for working people and essential goods – like our homes
The shutdown underscores an unsettling economic and social reality in the U.S. Lawmakers have failed to create safeguards for essential goods like housing – and enact policies that protect Americans’ earnings and create opportunities for wealth building. Due to the shutdown, thousands of federal workers aren’t being paid, putting their economic security and housing stability at risk.
According to a recent CareerBuilder Survey, 78% of U.S. families live paycheck-to-paycheck. According to Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, this is because systemic factors have blocked wealth building opportunities for families – especially since the Great Recession. Working people have lost bargaining power, and wages have stagnated while housing, health, and childcare costs have grown. Many families have accumulated debt to cope with the Recession and skyrocketing education costs. That means disruptions to income or unexpected costs have major impacts, destabilizing families and our economy. We must press policy makers to enact policies that protect the essentials and remove roadblocks for wealth building and prosperity for people at all income levels.