Habitat: Low-income families paying the price of government shutdown as housing support falters and workers go without paychecks
ATLANTA (Jan. 11, 2019) —Thousands of American families who rely on affordable housing programs are facing difficult and destabilizing consequences caused by the ongoing shutdown of parts of the federal government. Habitat for Humanity International is calling on Congress and the administration to end the shutdown to restore full funding to vital government services and resume paying federal workers.
“Families who can afford it the least are being forced to pay the highest costs of this government shutdown,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The Book of Proverbs tells us not to withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act. Our elected officials must act to end this shutdown so the federal government can meet the obligations it has made to the American people.”
The government shutdown, which includes the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Agriculture, is having a widespread impact across the country, including direct and harmful impacts on families working to pay their mortgage or rent.
Funding delays caused by the shutdown are impacting some of Habitat for Humanity’s ability to process new mortgage loans and move forward with existing and planned construction projects in some communities.
A future Habitat for Humanity homeowner in Susquehanna, Maryland, for example, is unable to close on an approved federal housing loan because of the shutdown. In Dothan, Alabama, repair and weatherization projects for low-income homeowners are on hold. In two small towns in rural Colorado where there is an extreme shortage of affordable housing, home construction projects have come to a halt as government-financed rural home construction loans have been suspended.
Several thousand families may even be at risk of eviction according to a recent NBC News report, as federal contracts for more than 1,000 government-funded properties have expired during the government shutdown. Landlords without reserves could be forced into drastic measures to make up for the lost government funding.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have begun missing paychecks, putting their ability to pay their rent or mortgage at risk. That includes a Habitat homeowner in Salisbury, Maryland who has continued to work without pay for the U.S. Department of Agriculture throughout the shutdown.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.