Kaine Joins Warner In Writing To Trump On Shutdown Housing Crisis
Senators urge the President to immediately re-open the Department of Housing and Urban Development
2.2 million low-income households are at risk of eviction because of Trump’s shutdown
WASHINGTON – Senator Tim Kaine joined over 170 Members of Congress, led by Senator Mark R. Warner, in sending a letter to President Trump expressing concern that the shutdown will force Americans from their homes. Affordable housing programs in Virginia and across the country depend on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) rental assistance initiatives. An estimated 2.2 million low-income households, including those of veterans, seniors, and people living with disabilities, are at risk of eviction because of the government shutdown’s effects on HUD.
“We write to express our deep concern regarding the harmful impacts the current government shutdown is having on the ability of Americans to afford their homes… For the sake of the families whose homes are at stake, we urge you to end the shutdown and protect the American people,” the Members said.
Text of the letter can be found below. PDF of the letter is available here.
Dear President Trump:
We write to express our deep concern regarding the harmful impacts the current government shutdown is having on the ability of Americans to afford their homes. This partial shutdown is undermining both the short-term operations and long-term viability of our affordable housing programs that serve over four million Americans, the majority of whom are seniors and people with disabilities living on a fixed income. For the sake of the families whose homes are at stake, we urge you to end the shutdown and protect the American people.
An immediate result of the shutdown is that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has been forced to scramble to find funds to renew federal contracts for 650 project-based rental assistance properties, housing tens of thousands of low-income renters, that have expired since the government shutdown began. Additional contracts will expire later in January and February, should the shutdown continue, as HUD does not have funding to renew contracts while the government is shut down. HUD proposes that private owners use their individual funding reserves, where available, to cover shortfalls. The longer the shutdown continues, the more untenable this guidance becomes.
Additionally, the shutdown will delay public housing authorities from receiving funding to help address pressing capital needs, such as fixing boilers and repairing leaking roofs. Funding is also dwindling for grants that support developmental projects and programs in local communities that depend on such funding to serve low-income families. Finally, the lapse in federal funding is curbing economic growth as more Americans are unable to purchase homes due to the Federal Housing Authority’s (FHA) delay in processing loans.
The American people should not be used as leverage, or be held hostage, to fulfill a political agenda. The longer this shutdown extends, the more harm will be done to seniors, families with children, people with disabilities, and other Americans who rely on these programs. We urge you to end this shutdown and provide immediate relief to Americans being impacted by this funding crisis. In these times of uncertainty and tension, we must continue to prioritize the American people. We owe it to the people we serve to choose their best interest over politics.