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More on Federal Government Shutdown's Impact on Vermont

Into the third day of the federal government shutdown we are learning more about the effects the shutdown are having in Vermont. All non-essential federal employees are on furlough, the state office of HUD and the regional office of USDA Rural Development are closed, and websites are down.  Rural Development can’t make new loans to home buyers, process new grants, or renew Rental Assistance contracts.  Rental Assistance disbursements will continue. The National Low Income Housing Coalition has more on what the shutdown means for HUD’s programs:

HUD’s largest rental assistance programs, the Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, and Project-Based Rental Assistance programs, appear to have funding to continue normal operations through October, either through previously-obligated funding or advance appropriations. After October, HUD’s contingency plan is largely silent… HUD outlined shutdown status for these major programs:
  1. Tenant-Based Rental Assistance. According to HUD’s plan, October’s Housing Assistance Payments and administrative fees will be disbursed but there are no payments beyond October scheduled to be disbursed at this time. HUD will not process requests for tenant protection vouchers for public housing or multifamily actions during the shutdown.

  2. Project-Based Rental Assistance. HUD plans to draw on advanced appropriations to continue housing payments for project-based contracts for October. According to HUD’s plan, it will make some payments under Section 8 contracts, rent supplement, Section 236, and project rental assistance contracts (PRACs) where there is budget authority available from prior appropriations or recaptures. HUD will not process any Section 8 contract renewal or waiver requests during the shutdown.

  3. Public Housing. Local public housing agencies (PHAs) are not federal government entities and thus will not shut down. But, PHAs receive significant federal funding and their hours and capacities may be impacted by the federal shutdown. HUD’s contingency plan predicts that most of the country’s 3,300 PHAs have the necessary funds to continue providing public housing assistance for the remainder of the month. However, depending on the length of the shutdown, some PHAs may not be able to maintain normal operations. HUD recommends that local PHAs be contacted for information as to their operating levels.

  4. Homeless Assistance Grants. According to the contingency plan, HUD homeless assistance grants, including supportive housing for veterans and housing for people with AIDS, will continue to be funded “to protect against imminent threats to the safety of human life.”

  5. HOME Investment Partnerships Program, CDBG. According to HUD’s plan, it will “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’s plan indicates that “cities and states would not be able to receive additional CDBG funds,” but HUD will 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.

Mike McNamara, Vermont’s HUD Field Director, was unable to host his monthly program on Channel 17 due to being furloughed from the shutdown. Erhard Mahnke of VAHC and Ted Wimpey, Director of the Fair Housing Project at CVOEO, were able to fill-in and give viewers an update on the federal government shutdown’s impact on Vermont housing.  Watch the full program here. On Vermont Edition, VPR’s Jane Hindholm interviewed Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding, General Steven Cray of the Vermont Air and National Guard, Paul Behrman Director of the CVOEO Head Start Program, Marissa Parisi of Hunger Free Vermont, among others who gave more information on how the shutdown is impacting programs across the state.  Listen to the show here.

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