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Thousands Face Eviction As Government Shutdown Hits Federal Housing Assistance Contracts

As many as 85,000 low-income U.S. households are at risk of eviction as the government shutdown drags on.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson

These residents — many of whom are older renters and people with disabilities — depend on continued federal government assistance to live in a certain kind of Section 8 housing.

As of Jan. 3, roughly 1,150 contracts for Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance were up for renewal but in limbo because funds weren't obligated before the December shutdown, the nonprofit Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding said in a letter to congressional leaders

The Project-Based Rental Assistance program is distinct from Section 8 vouchers. Under the rental assistance program, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development contracts with private property owners to open up some (or all) of their rental units to low-income families, especially extremely low income households, which are at or below 30% of area median income. 

The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding said the number of expiring contracts will increase as time passes. HUD anticipates that about 500 more contracts (affecting another 30,000 to 40,000 households) will expire and be up for renewal in January and 550 more will be in February.

In the meantime, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are questioning HUD's management of the shutdown.

"HUD knew for months about this impending deadline to renew the contracts, but for some reason they failed to take proper action in advance of the shutdown,” Rep. David Price, D-N.C., said in a statement. Price is the incoming chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on transportation and housing.

“HUD is leaving no stone unturned and using every resource Congress has provided the agency to make certain its rental assistance programs continue to operate with minimal disruption,” Jereon Brown, spokesman for HUD Secretary Ben Carson, said in a statement.

Price said that he would hold hearings on the matter if necessary, NBC reports.