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Government shutdown could have ‘very serious’ impact on Richmond public housing families

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 18:22:11-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Leaders with The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) are concerned about potential money woes if the partial federal government shutdown persists.

In a press release, the public housing authority said they were "concerned about the immediate and long-term impact that the shutdown will have on its programs and the low-income families it serves. RRHA receives tens of millions of dollars annually from HUD [House and Urban Development]. Like most public housing agencies, RRHA relies on HUD funding to support the bulk of its Low Income Public Housing program, Housing Choice Voucher program, and Capital Fund Grant program budgets."

Thursday marked the 27th day of the government shutdown, which is currently the longest in U.S. history.

RRHA Interim CEO Orlando Artze said the authority currently has enough reserves on hand to fund operations through March.

However, Artze said that they would be forced to make tough decisions if the shutdown persists.

"We will need to look at being able to cut back on staff and be able to cut back on services," he explained. "If the money doesn’t come in from HUD there aren’t many alternatives."

RRHA would be reliant on seeking outside sources of income such as loans from several banks.

About 3,000 families rely on funds through the Housing Choice Voucher program to supplement their rent.

"If we are not receiving funding from HUD to make those rental payments then we can’t make payments to landlords," Artze stated.

Artze stressed that RRHA operations such as maintenance requests are not currently impacted by the shutdown, but that may change.

"It’s really incredibly sad that we are even having this conversation," he said. "The impact the shutdown will have if it continues will be very, very serious."

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