|National Low Income Housing Coalition map; click the image to enlarge it.|
"Since the shutdown began last month, approximately 1,150 federal rental assistance contracts have not been renewed due to funding lapses at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
These lapses impact Project-Based Rental Assistance agreements between private property owners and the federal government," Brakkton Booker reports for NPR. "These landlords are contracted to house low and very low-income residents. The property owner charges tenants modest rents and HUD kicks in subsidies to make up the difference." HUD housing contracts cover about 1.2 million low-income families in both rural and urban areas.
Five hundred more HUD contracts will expire by the end of January, and another 550 will expire by the end of February. HUD asked property owners to take some of the financial burden in a letter earlier this month, urging landlords to use their savings to cover federal funding shortfalls so tenants wouldn't have to be evicted, Booker reports.
Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, told Booker that "Eventually these owners will have to resort to either significant rent hikes or evictions of these lowest-income renters."
Rural areas of the U.S. were already facing an affordable housing crisis before the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of homes could age out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program unless the USDA pays to repair and update those properties.