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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | U.S. | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Government shutdown delays Section 8 housing payments
The federal government shutdown that began on October 1, has created a whole new set of problems deeply impacting millions of families in need that are assisted by HUD's federal housing programs!
Government shutdown delays Section 8 housing payments
By Lynda Carson - October 3, 2013
Oakland - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has informed some Public Housing Authorities across the nation that they should be ready to cover any funding delays in their housing programs as federal FY 2013 came to a close, and in the event of a government shutdown. Federal FY 2014 began on October 1, 2013.
The federal government shutdown also took effect on October 1, 2013. However, despite the grim situation taking place all across the nation, the good news for Oakland's low-income tenants in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is that the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) has announced that housing assistance payments (HAP) should continue during the federal shutdown, at least in the short term. The OHA has not announced that there will be any delay in payment to landlords in the Section 8 voucher program during October.
The OHA received written notice on September 30th from HUD stating that the funding to it's Section 8 voucher program (Housing Choice Voucher Program) and it's public housing program will continue, allowing the OHA to conduct normal operations at least through mid-December of this year. That is unless circumstances change and HUD cuts off the federal funding to Oakland's housing assistance programs. According to it's website, the OHA owns, operates or administers subsidized rent payments for nearly 15,000 households, approximately 10% of Oakland's low-income families.
Other locations across the nation have not fared as well. On Wed. Oct. 2, the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) announced that their October HAP payment from HUD will not reach them until October 7th, meaning that all Section 8 landlords in New Orleans that have HAP payments directly deposited to their accounts should not receive payment until on or about October 7th. There are currently around 17,000 low-income families in the Section 8 voucher program in New Orleans, and around 8,000 landlords in the program.
Last week, the Board of Commissioners for the Fresno Housing Authority authorized a line of credit that would allow the agency to continue in the event of a short term government shutdown. HUD asked the agency to provide temporary gap funding in the amount of $1.7 million in housing assistance payments to Section 8 landlords, during the first week of October.
HAP payments to Section 8 landlords in Glendale, California, may also be delayed during October for around 1,500 low-income Section 8 voucher holders, and a press release from the Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority announced that HUD has advised it that the October housing assistance payment to landlords will be delayed due to limited and late funding assignments.
A press release from the San Francisco Housing Authority states that a prolonged government shutdown could affect the more than 31,000 families served by the San Francisco Housing Authority.
Low-income families in the Section 8 voucher program pay 30 to 40 percent of their income in rent each month, and the rest of the rent is paid to the landlord by the federal program.
Presently tens of thousands of low-income Section 8 voucher holders all across the nation are facing massive rent increases, are losing their Section 8 housing vouchers, and are facing homelessness as a direct result of the massive $85 billion in sequestration across-the-board spending cuts that took effect on March 1, 2013.
Making matters worse, last week the Democrats caved in to the demands of Republicans to allow another round of sequestration across-the-board spending cuts totaling around $110 billion to take effect on October 1, 2013, to avoid a federal government shutdown. A government shutdown that occurred anyway, creating a desperate situation for low-income families all across the nation that need federal housing assistance, including around 800,000 federal workers furloughed from their jobs because of the government shutdown.
The federal government shutdown that began on October 1, has created a whole new set of problems deeply impacting millions of families in need that are assisted by HUD's federal housing programs. The median income of a HUD assisted household is just over $10,000 per year, and low-income families make up 72 percent of HUD assisted households - with more than half of those that are receiving vouchers being persons with disabilities, or the elderly.
The HUD FY 2013 Contingency Plan for Possible Lapse In Appropriations states that section 8 and public housing operating funds are essential activities, and excepted from the federal government shutdown.
According to HUD's contingency plan, October's HAP and administrative fees are currently scheduled. However, unless Congress passes a budget or reaches a deal on a continuing resolution to end the federal government shutdown, there are no payments beyond October scheduled for disbursement to the nations 3,300 public housing authorities for their Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8 voucher program).
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com
Click on the link below for the HUD 2013 Contingency Plan for Possible Lapse in Appropriations