Federal Government Reopened After Brief Shutdown During Which 96% HUD Staff Furloughed

With Shutdown Over, Housing Programs Face Cuts if Budget Caps for NDD Funding Are Not Raised

The federal government has reopened after a brief shutdown. Senate leadership reached a deal to reopen the government. The Senate leadership agreed to a temporary and short term continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government until Thursday, February 8, 2018.

Disagreements over a deal on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which provides protections to roughly 700,000 people brought to the U.S. as children, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has expired, led to a three day government shutdown. The Senate deal fully funds CHIP for six years.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised to bring immigration legislation for consideration before the CR expires. The Senate and House passed the measure which President Trump signed.

Congress has yet to pass a full year spending bill for FY 2018. This failure to pass a federal budget is in part because leadership and the White House are still negotiating a deal to lift the budget caps that were instated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Housing and community development programs like Project-Based Rental Assistance, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and Community Development Block Grants could all face cuts if caps aren’t raised for non-defense discretionary spending.

Additional issues complicating the funding process are disaster assistance and potential tax legislation. An $81 billion package with supplemental funding for areas impacted by natural disasters passed the House before the winter holidays, but the Senate has yet to take up the bill. Congress may also take up “tax extenders” or other tax legislation, although it is unclear when they will be able to do so.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) this is how a government shutdown would have impacted operations at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

During a government shutdown, approximately 96% of HUD’s 7,797 staff would be furloughed; just 289 employees are currently classified as “excepted” from the shutdown and would continue working in order to perform duties for programs also “excepted” from the shutdown.

The programs, or functions of programs, that have been deemed “excepted” from the shutdown would continue to operate. These include housing and emergency services for people experiencing homelessness or living with HIV/AIDs and the distribution of disaster aid and HUD block grants “where the failure to address issues result in a threat to safety of life and protection of property.”

  • Public housing and Housing Choice Voucher funds already obligated by HUD to PHAs in the Line of Credit Control System (LoCCS), HUD’s primary grant disbursement system, or the HUD Central Accounting Program System (HUDCAPS) would be available for PHAs to drawdown.
  • During a shutdown, HUD may be able to bring in pre-designated staff intermittently to get current payments for public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers through processing.
  • HUD homeless assistance grants, including supportive housing for veterans and housing for people with AIDS, would continue to be funded “to protect against imminent threats to the safety of human life.”
  • HUD would “continue to disburse CDBG, HOME funds, and other block grant funds in cases where failure to address issues result in a threat to safety of life and protection of property.”
  • HUD would disburse CDBG, HOME, and other block grant funds that have already been appropriated, and competitive funds that have been awarded and are under grant agreement.

HUD’s contingency plan provides details on agency functions that continue or halt for additional HUD programs.

HUD’s 2017 Contingency Plan

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