Public housing advocacy organizations are calling on lawmakers to finalize fiscal 2023 appropriations legislation before the start of the 118th Congress to avoid a long-term continuing resolution or government shutdown.
“The consequences of a government shutdown or a series of continuing resolutions, which lock the previous year’s funding levels in place, create uncertainty for PHAs [public housing authorities] by not accounting for inflation or current shortfalls that could be severe and would amount to a budget cut,” said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. “It will tie the hands of housing authorities and impact their abilities to provide their residents with safe, secure, and affordable housing.”
The Nov. 29 letter was also signed by the MTW Collaborative, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and Public Housing Authorities Directors Association.
As PHAs feel the effects of a number of financial burdens, it is increasingly difficult for them to serve public housing residents as well as those with housing choice vouchers, according to the letter to the leaders of of House and Senate appropriations committees.
The leaders cited how harmful continuing resolutions and a shutdown are on housing authorities and their residents. During a shutdown, PHAs must rely on their limited operating reserves, which may force them to limit services for residents and furlough staff. Budget uncertainty caused by a shutdown can also increase financial risk for landlords participating in the voucher program.
The advocates added that their funding priorities for Department of Housing and Urban Development programs include:
· Public Housing Operating Fund: $5.384 billion (includes the supplemental request);
· Public Housing Capital Fund: $5 billion;
· Section 8 HAP Renewals: $26.234 billion;
· Section 8 Administrative Fees: $3.046 billion;
· Tenant Protection Vouchers: $364 million;
· Family Self-Sufficiency: $200 million;
· Community Development Block Grants: $4.2 billion; and
· HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $2.5 billion.