Affordable Housing Leaders Demand End to the Government Shutdown & Passage of Full-Year Spending Bills

Date Published: 
January 8th, 2019

A coalition of more than 70 national organizations tell the Administration & Congress that people with the lowest incomes will be hit hardest if the shutdown continues.

Washington, DC - Members of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) sent a letter to congressional leaders today calling on them to protect low-income Americans by ending the government shutdown and passing full-year spending bills that provide strong funding for affordable housing and community development programs.

CHCDF, a coalition led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, expressed strong concern for the shutdown’s immediate and long-term impacts on affordable housing programs and the low-income people they serve. The letter also called out the shutdown’s impact on the housing stability of low-wage government contractors, like janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers, who often live paycheck-to-paycheck. These individuals working without pay are at risk of being unable to cover their rent payments, putting them at risk of eviction.

The government shutdown is thwarting critical investments in local communities and in affordable and accessible housing for low-income families, threatening to destabilize over four million households that depend on HUD’s rental assistance programs and creating widespread uncertainty for affordable housing investors.

“The longer the shutdown continues, the more the lowest income people will be hard hit,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Residents living in HUD-subsidized properties are some of our country’s most vulnerable people - the clear majority are deeply poor seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children. They rely on government assistance to remain housed, and a prolonged government shutdown puts them at increased risk of eviction and potentially homelessness. It’s incredibly reckless to risk the homes of our country’s lowest-income and most vulnerable people as perceived leverage for a border wall.”

“The partial government shutdown is a disaster for the millions of low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities who depend on HUD assistance for safe, stable housing,” said Council of Large Public Housing Authorities Executive Director Sunia Zaterman. “Funding uncertainty puts more than two million voucher households at risk of losing their homes, and a lack of operating fund payments will force public housing authorities to shut units that cannot be repaired or properly maintained.”

“The bottom line for us is care and concern for the people we serve, and the shutdown hurts them,” said CSH President and CEO Deborah De Santis. “Every hour the deadlock drags on means people who really need housing and services are not going to get them. And the longer critical agencies stay shuttered the more likely it is families, children and other individuals now counting on help to stay housed and healthy will have their lifelines cut off.”

“Each day of the shutdown makes it harder and harder for the nearly 10 million people who live in HUD-assisted housing – low-income families, people with disabilities, veterans, and the elderly – to avoid eviction, keep their heat turned on, and access health care and supportive services,” said Enterprise Community Partners President Laurel Blatchford. “Congress and the Administration must find a way to restore funding for programs critical to the livelihoods of Americans across the country.”

“As the shutdown continues, HUD has made clear it will become unable to renew rental assistance contracts for housing providers,” said LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan. “LeadingAge’s members, all nonprofits, rely on regular and adequate funding to provide quality affordable housing to some of the nation’s lowest-income older adults. The average older adult in HUD’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program has an annual income of $13,300, an income far too little to make ends meet in any private housing market. More than 400,000 older adults rely on the Section 202 program, while another 1.2 million rely on other HUD programs for housing assistance. We urge Congress and the White House to end the shutdown so that each of these 1.6 million older adults have the stable housing they need to age with dignity.”

“Local governments rely on consistent contact with HUD in order to ensure reliable funding for services, projects and developments funded with grant programs like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships program,” said National Association for County Community and Economic Development Executive Director Laura DeMaria. “These programs provide vital services and resources to low-income families across the country. As long as HUD remains shut down, local governments, their community partners, and the low-income families they serve will lack the stability and constant flow of funds they need to operate.”

“This shutdown is hurting families across the country whether or not they work for the federal government and prolonging it will make matters worse,” said NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman. “Capital expenses that require approval from HUD employees are left undone, and housing vouchers are not reaching families in need as housing agencies curtail additional spending. We should be especially concerned about the public- and private-sector landlords in the project-based rental assistance program who are left without funding and/or contract renewals. Those who can are already dipping into their reserves to make repairs and respond to their residents’ needs, but these reserves only go so far. This is unacceptable. End the shutdown.”

“Vulnerable Americans are the casualty of the current political battle. As a partial federal shutdown drags on, essential federal housing programs and tenant protections are in jeopardy,” said National Housing Law Project Executive Director Shamus Roller.   

“The needless government shutdown has put the lowest-income residents at risk and left private rental housing owners scrambling to cover operating costs for which the federal government is contractually responsible,” said National Housing Trust Federal Policy Director Ellen Lurie Hoffman. “This threatens seniors, people with disabilities, and families who are struggling to make ends meet, as well as the viability of critically important affordable housing properties.”

Read the complete letter outlining the impact of the shutdown on specific affordable housing programs at: https://bit.ly/2RkB8Xd. 

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About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities: The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities is a national non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education.

About National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC): Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

About Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF): An education, strategy and action hub led by NLIHC. The coalition of more than 70 national organizations works to ensure the highest allocation of resources possible to support affordable housing and community development. CHCDF’s members represent a full continuum of national housing and community development organizations, including faith-based, private sector, financial/intermediary, public sector and advocacy groups.

CLPHA Program(s): 
Legislative & Policy
Housing Choice Voucher
Public Housing
Topic(s): 
Funding
Public Housing
Resource type(s): 
CLPHA Advocacy
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