Impacts of Government Shutdown on Affordable Housing Programs

~ Excerpts from the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) memo, January 15, 2019

On December 21, Congress failed to provide FY 19 funding for several federal agencies, including HUD and USDA, causing a partial government shutdown. Outlined below are the impacts the shutdown is having on HUD and USDA affordable housing and community development programs:
– As of January 5, HUD failed to renew 650 rental assistance contracts that had expired in December prior to the shutdown. The 650 contracts that HUD don’t renew in December will affect roughly 21,500 low-income households. Roughly two-thirds of these households are elderly or who have disabilities; on average, these households have incomes of less than $13,000 per year.
– The number of expiring contracts will increase as time goes on, as HUD anticipates approximately 500 additional contracts (affecting another 20,000 households) will expire and be up for renewal in January and 550 in February.
– The Section 202 program provides affordable housing to about 400,000 older adults with average annual incomes of $13,300. Contracts that provide ongoing operating subsidies to the nation’s almost 6,700 Section 202 communities are at risk of not being renewed.
– If the shutdown is not resolved by the end of February, PHAs (Public Housing Authorities) will not be able to make timely payments to landlords expecting rent subsidies on March 1. This could have dire consequences for recipients of rental assistance, as they will have to either pay their rent in full or could face eviction.
– Because of the uncertainty around funding caused by the shutdown, PHAs will be unable to approve families on the waiting list for vouchers that have been turned over by families who have exited the program. As a result, these vouchers will go unused.
– Over a quarter million families in rural communities rely on USDA rental assistance to afford a roof over their head. USDA hasn’t provided any information about housing benefits for January. If the shutdown continues, seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals risk facing eviction, or in worst cases, homelessness.
– Homeowners who need assistance to heat their homes or repair leaky roofs are being forced to continue to live in substandard conditions.
– Congress last February appropriated $16 billion in funding to be used for projects to better safeguard communities damaged by the 2017 floods and hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Texas, Louisiana, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida. HUD has yet to issue guidance for this money. The shutdown will also delay guidance for the $1.68 billion in disaster relief funding that Congress passed in October 2018 for states impacted by Hurricane Florence.

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) is an education, strategy and action hub for national organizations dedicated to adequate federal housing and community development funding for lower income families and communities. CHCDF’s members represent a full continuum of national housing and community development organizations, including more than 70 faith-based, private sector, financial/intermediary public sector and advocacy groups. CHCDF is staffed by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. For more information, contact Elayne Weiss, Senior Policy Analyst, at or 202-507-7262.