Over 1000 affordable housing contracts expire due to shutdown

Over 1000 affordable housing contracts expire due to shutdown
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Hundreds of federal housing contracts have expired since the government shutdown began in December, putting some tenants at risk of eviction while their landlords are forced to use private funding for upkeep and repairs.

A spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) told NBC News on Tuesday that 1,150 contracts with private landlords for Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) subsidies have expired so far amid the ongoing shutdown. This means that some landlords are no longer receiving government assistance to subsidize rent from low-income recipients, including many elderly Americans.

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The National Housing Trust, an advocacy group that operates some low-income housing under PBRA, told NBC News that some landlords could be forced to raise rents and ultimately evict tenants due to budget shortfalls created by the shutdown, which stretched into its eighteenth day on Tuesday.

HUD, the group says, did not do enough to allocate funds for these contracts before the shutdown began.

“It’s confusing to me why HUD wouldn’t have prioritized that and assigned staff to make sure this wouldn’t happen," the National Housing Trust's federal policy director Ellen Lurie Hoffman told NBC. "It’s a huge number of contracts and properties and residents."

Jereon Brown, a spokesman for HUD, responded to NBC by pointing out that the agency has never experienced evictions as the result of a shutdown, and noted that the remaining HUD staffers working during the shutdown were “looking at all accounts for funding to reinstate those contracts that don’t exist now."

“Historically, HUD has reimbursed owners following a shutdown and never experienced evictions,” Brown told NBC.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials told NBC in a statement that many landlords who were forced to dip in to private funds will only have enough cash on hand to last through one month of delayed payments from HUD.

“If this goes into Feb. 1, landlords will start to go berserk,” CEO Adrianne Todman told NBC. “They, too, have bills to pay.”