At the end of its second week, the federal government shutdown continues to significantly disrupt the lives and work of users and providers of affordable housing programs.
Although the closure will end this week, the vast majority of HUD employees, 96%, were furloughed and departmental operations have been reduced to minimal activity.
HUD issued a third update to its contingency plan on October 11, 2013 reflecting changes to staffing and program activities based upon the length of time the government has been shut down. HUD announced that the number of employees working during the shutdown has been reduced to 307 because some of the activities related to the shutdown are now complete. The plan describes how activity for some programs will be further reduced based upon the extended shutdown. These additional specifications include information on managing property where HUD is the receiver, allowing fair housing employees to return if emergency judicial action is necessary, and activities of HUD’s Section 811 program, Rental Assistance Demonstration, and Asset Management functions.
HUD officials are confident that funding for some major programs serving the lowest income households will be available through the end of 2013. However, funding for other programs may not go beyond November. Expected to last through December is funding for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance, most Public Housing operations, Public Housing capital activities, and Homeless Assistance. However, it is unclear whether there will be sufficient funds to pay Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts through November. In the meantime, Home Investment Partnerships and Community Development Block Grant funds are expected to remain available. Activities of Fair Housing and other programs were halted when the shutdown began on October 1.
Although Tenant-Based Rental Assistance payments for current contracts have continued, new vouchers have not been issued. Households remain on waiting lists, living in unaffordable housing, or in shelter.