CLPHA Executive Director & Members Tell YES! Magazine How Government Shutdowns Erode Trust

Date Published: 
February 13th, 2019

In yesterday's article "Trust in Public Housing at Stake Over Looming Government Shutdown," YES! Magazine quoted CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman and CLPHA members Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority Executive Director, and Mark Gillett, Oklahoma City Housing Authority Executive Director, on how another government shutdown could continue to sow mistrust in public housing authorities (PHAs) and HUD. 

Zaterman, who noted that landlords could shy away from participating in voucher programs if there is concern that PHAs will not pay them, asked, “Just the prospect of payments not being made will have a very disruptive impact—will the federal government contract be honored?”

Wiest stressed the importance of PHAs maintaining a good rapport with landlords. “We work really, really hard to have good relationships with local landlords. And if there’s the slightest hint that they won’t get their subsidy payments as promised, it erodes trust,” said Wiest. “And this program operates on trust.”

Gillett added that if PHAs cannot pay their landlords, there could be dire consequences for tenants. “There is a provision in the law saying if a housing assistance payment isn’t paid, it shouldn’t be grounds for eviction,” Gillett said. “But it’s never been tested.”

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