Our view on the federal shutdown: Our communities are not bargaining chips

The federal government shutdown may be on pause, but people across the U.S. are still feeling the impacts of the 35-day shutdown. With no budget adopted, the unpredictability continues, and long-term impacts are still unclear. We’re anxiously looking ahead two weeks when the next deadline looms. By then, it is critical that lawmakers in Washington pass clean, full-year spending bills that fully fund critical housing and community development programs.  

MHP has been tracking the impacts of the shutdown. For some Americans, the shutdown was an inconvenience. But for many families and especially for our most vulnerable neighbors, the impacts are serious, severe, and disruptive.

In rural communities across the U.S., more than 268,000 families who rely upon USDA rental assistance faced eviction and homelessness as a result of the shutdown. Critical USDA loan programs that fund water systems, rural health clinics, and schools have stalled. Read a statement from Housing Assistance Council (HAC) and HAC’s compilation of articles on rural impacts to learn more.

The shutdown has had a disproportionately severe impact on Native communities. Programs providing crucial services like food, healthcare, education, and housing have ground to a halt or are facing extreme financial hardship, harming community members who rely on these programs to make ends meet. Read a letter to Congress from the National Congress of American Indians, the National American Indian Housing Association, the National Indian Health Board, and other groups to learn more. 

Our communities should not be used as bargaining chips for political fights. When the government shuts down, lives are on the line – now and in the future. NLIHC’s statement on the shutdown argues that it’s impossible to effectively govern in three-week increments. We agree. We must invest in the stability of our communities and lay the groundwork for a prosperous future by securing – and fiercely protecting – reliable access to housing. 

You can help.

Join MHP in signing NLIHC’s letter urging Congress and the President to pass clean, full-year spending bills that fund housing programs and other key initiatives we rely upon to make ends meet.