Section 8 Rent Payments Could Run Out if Gov. Shutdown Lasts Until March

Tenants living under section 8 federal rent subsidies have yet to be affected by the government shutdown but that could all change if it continues to drag on for months.

Renters and their landlords could be without their checks after local housing authorities said rent payments will run out after February for about 125,000 Section 8 tenants in the region.

The shutdown also affects those that are reaching the top of the large wait list, that could be anywhere from 6-10 years long, because of the uncertainty of future payments. 

A campaign backed by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition expressed concern some Section 8 recipients “will have to either pay their rent in full or could face eviction.”

“(We) continue to do business as usual to avoid affecting tenants and owners. But the shutdown is unpredictable, as it can end tomorrow or in six months,” said Danny Huynh, manager of the Garden Grove Housing Authority, which funnels $2.6 million a month to about 2,600 Section 8 landlords. “If the shutdown continues beyond March, any housing program using federal funds will be affected, the OC Register reports.”

Under Section 8, the government subsidizes rent payments for low-income households. This effectively reduces the amounts the tenants pay to around 30 percent of their income. Once a tenant reaches the top of the wait list and gets a voucher, they must find a landlord willing to accept payment under the program.  

About 2.2 million U.S. households get Section 8 rent assistance. 

Only funding approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before the Dec. 22 shutdown can be spent and that funding runs out in February.

Photo: Getty Images

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