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Millions of low-income renters are threatened by Trump's government shutdown
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Sunday Dec 23rd, 2018 12:21 AM
In a brief statement posted on their website with the Alameda County Housing Authority, it says: “The Alameda County Housing Authority will remain open and anticipates business to continue as usual for Section 8 participants and landlords, as well as our residents, staff and community partners in the event of a partial government shutdown.”
Millions of low-income renters are threatened by Trump's government shutdown

By Lynda Carson - December 23, 2018

Oakland - The Alameda County Housing Authority has 6,566 units in its Section 8 inventory. In a brief statement posted on their website with the Alameda County Housing Authority, it says: “The Alameda County Housing Authority will remain open and anticipates business to continue as usual for Section 8 participants and landlords, as well as our residents, staff and community partners in the event of a partial government shutdown.”

However, if President Trump’s partial federal government shutdown lasts long, and Trump warns that it will last a very long time, the government shutdown will have a profound impact on millions of low-income renters. Millions of low-income renters including the elderly, and disabled, in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD's) housing programs, including public housing tenants, and tenants in the Section 8 voucher program.

Reportedly, Trump is warning that if he does not get the funding for his racist border wall that there will be a government shutdown for very long time.

Section 8 Units In The Bay Area Affected By Government Shutdown:

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD’s records), Oakland has 13,586 units in its Section 8 inventory, and 2,122 units in its low rent inventory.

San Francisco has 13,062 units in its Section 8 inventory, and 2,483 units in its low rent inventory. South San Francisco has 80 units in its low rent inventory.

Berkeley has 1,995 units in its Section 8 inventory.

Richmond has 2,004 units in its Section 8 inventory, and 559 units in its low rent inventory.

Alameda has 1,895 units in its Section 8 inventory.

Alameda County has 6,566 units in its Section 8 inventory.

Contra Costa County has 6,956 units in its Section 8 inventory, and 1,137 units in its low rent inventory.

And Marin Housing has 2,200 units in its Section 8 inventory, and 496 units in its low rent inventory.

HUD’s Contingency Plan:

According to a statement in HUD’s 2018 contingency plan, “A government shutdown would deeply impact the millions of families in need assisted by HUD programs. The median income of a HUD-assisted household is just over $10,000 per year, well below the national average. Low-income families make up 72 percent of HUD-assisted households - and more than half of those receiving vouchers are elderly or persons with disabilities.”

The clock is ticking. Trump’s federal government shutdown places millions of low-income renters at risk in the section 8 voucher program (a.k.a. Housing Choice Voucher program), and public housing, if the government shutdown lasts very long, especially after December of 2018.

In HUD’s contingency plan it mentions that the ‘Housing Choice Voucher Program’ (section 8 voucher program) is funded on a calendar year basis, and the monthly payments for November and December of 2018 are scheduled to be made timely. However, the contingency plan does not clearly state where the funding for the section 8 voucher program will come from for January of 2019, or beyond, if the federal government shutdown is still on-going during January 2019, or later.

In a recent statement from HUD to around 3,000 Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) that distribute funding for some of HUD’s housing assistance programs, “You will be able to draw down funds from LOCCS (Line of Credit Control System) for the purpose of accessing funds for public housing (operating subsidies and capital funds) and Indian housing that have already been obligated in the system and which can be drawn down without further action or review by HUD employees. However, funds that have not yet been obligated or that require HUD review will not be available. For the Housing Choice Voucher program (section 8 voucher program), the October payments were disbursed, and are available to HCV participants. The Housing Choice Voucher Program is funded on a calendar year basis, and the monthly payments for November and December are scheduled to be made timely.”

Additionally, according to the office of Senator Patrick Leahy, “Payments to roughly 3,000 public housing agencies, which help manage the country’s HUD-assisted housing and supportive services programs for more than 3 million low-income households, would be delayed, reducing critical operations, and delaying routine capital maintenance and emergency repairs.  Failure to maintain this critical affordable housing stock could leave thousands of veterans, elderly, disabled, and working poor Section 8 and public housing residents vulnerable to harmful living conditions, including exposure to lead-based paint hazards and mold.  This would also slow the selection of any new tenants from the thousands of low-income families and individuals currently on Section 8 and public housing waitlists nationwide, many of whom are currently living on the streets or in temporary shelters.”

Delayed Payments To Landlords In HUD’s Housing Programs During 2013 Government Shutdown:

Below are a few examples of what was going on when the federal government was shutdown during October of 2013, and how it affected HUD’s subsidized housing programs.

On Wednesday Oct. 2, 2013, 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 were currently around 17,000 low-income families in the Section 8 voucher program in New Orleans, and around 8,000 landlords in the program at that time.

Short of funding for their housing programs in 2013, the Board of Commissioners for the Fresno Housing Authority authorized a line of credit that allowed 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 2013.

HAP payments to Section 8 landlords in Glendale, California, also may have been delayed during October 2013 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 had advised it that the October 2013 housing assistance payment to landlords would be delayed due to limited and late funding assignments.

During October 2013, a press release from the San Francisco Housing Authority stated that a prolonged government shutdown could affect the more than 31,000 families served by the San Francisco Housing Authority.

The Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) received written notice on September 30th, 2013, 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 that year. That is unless circumstances change and HUD cuts off the federal funding to Oakland's housing assistance programs. There was no clear statement as to what would happen in January of 2014, if the government shutdown was still on-going. According to it's website at that time, it stated that the OHA owned, operated or administered subsidized rent payments for nearly 15,000 households, approximately 10% of Oakland's low-income families.

During the 2013 government shutdown, facing their Section 8 reserves to be depleted by the end of the year, a press release on October, 13, 2013, reveals that the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) urged lawmakers to end the government shutdown.

Holding the government as hostage, reportedly the White House is not backing down on its continuing government shutdown until its demands are met from Congress for $5 billion in funding for Trump’s racist border wall.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

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