Federal subsidies for low-income renters could expire after February

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Housing for thousands of Upstate families could be in jeopardy if the government does not reopen within six weeks. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is one of nine agencies affected by the shutdown. In the Upstate, HUD supplies millions of dollars in rent subsidies to help families afford housing. 

Local housing authorities receive money from HUD and then distribute funds to landlords, who in turn charge tenants less. Officials from Housing Authorities in Greenville, Spartanburg, and Anderson counties tell 7News they will receive HUD money through February, but if the shutdown continues in to March, they’re going to have to figure out something else. 

“I’ve never experienced us being in this situation,” said Greenville Housing Authority Executive Director Ivory Mathews.

She’s worked in affordable housing arena for 20 years. She’s been the executive director of the Greenville Housing Authority for the past five years.

She said this government shutdown is different. Landlords and tenants who depend on the federal government for rent money could be affected if the shutdown continues. 

“The families pay 30 percent of their income towards rent, and then the Housing Authority offsets the remaining rent through those federal subsidies,” Mathews said.

Each month in Greenville County, about $1.6 million in federal money goes to about 800 landlords who rent to about 3,000 low-income families. The subsidy averages about $500 per month per family. 

“Financially, we will not be able to make March payment to our landlords if the federal government does not reopen for business,” Mathews said. 

The Spartanburg County Housing authority receives $10 to $12 million annually to help more than 1,900 families, according to Jessica Holcomb, who is the deputy director of asset management and special projects at the Spartanburg Housing Authority. 

In Anderson County, more than 500 families also depend on the federal government for rent subsidies, according to Anderson County Housing Authority Executive Director Jeff Trahan.

All of these housing authorities will receive funding through February. 

“There were no plans put in place to receive rental subsidies for March because we all thought that the government would be re-open for business much sooner than today,” Mathews said. 

Because HUD employees aren’t working during the shutdown, Mathews said there’s no one local officials can speak with to extend the plan. 

The Greenville Housing Authority has told landlords that GHA will retroactively pay them for any payments missed during this partial government shutdown. 

In Spartanburg County, the Board of Commissioners passed a resolution allowing the Housing Authority to apply for a line of credit from a local bank to cover a delay in payments.

The Anderson County Housing Authority has money in reserve it could use to cover March payments, if the board approves it, according to Trahan. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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