Housing Authority of Champaign Worries Federal Shutdown Could Impact Affordable Housing Programs
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently closed due to the partial government shutdown, and has said it will provide operating funds to local housing authorities only through February.
The Housing Authority of Champaign County is concerned this lapse could impact funding of their affordable housing programs, and force them to dip into funding reserves they're unsure they’ll get back after the shutdown ends.
David Northern, Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Authority of Champaign County, said the authority has enough money to continue operating until April 1.
“After April 1, we don’t know what will happen,” Northern said.
It costs about $2.4 million each month to operate successfully, Northern said, and the housing authority had about $6.5 million in reserve funds as of this month. If the shutdown continues past February, it could impact the housing authority’s ability to maintain its 14 properties in the county and provide vouchers for low-income and moderate income families.
“If we have to use those funds to run our program, April 1 we only have $340,000,” Northern said.
While Northern is concerned by the budget gridlock at the federal level, he said Champaign is in a better place than many other smaller authorities around the country who are feeling even more of an impact from the shutdown at HUD. “Throughout the nation there’s been a number of housing authorities, especially smaller ones, without reserves that may have to evict people or cancel contracts with landlords,” Northern said.
He said the housing authority in Champaign is looking into gap financing opportunities through bank loans to make sure they don’t have to take anyone off housing should the shutdown continue after reserve funds are depleted.