Government shutdown could impact those receiving section 8 assistance


It is day 32 of the government shutdown, making it the longest in our history. 

The shutdown is responsible for several disruptions in our community and if it continues conditions could worsen. 

The housing authority says that if the shutdown stretches until the end of February, it could impact those receiving section 8 assistance. 

“If the government does not re-open by the end of February we will not be funded to make the payments to landlords beginning March 1,” said Heather Kimmel, with the Housing Authority of Kern.

Section 8 vouchers offered to low income families are federally funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

“If it were to go into March, we would just have to be okay with what we have in our own reserved budget to go forward from there,” said Frank St. Clair, with St. Clair investments.

St. Clair owns multiple apartment complexes around town. He says 40-50 of his units are Section 8.

“We are like most landlords that take section 8 housing, it’s kind of a specialized thing,” said St. Clair. “Generally they’re not Ma’ and Pa’ landlords who only have one or two rentals, most of them are professionals who are used to dealing with the government.” 

Being a larger investor he says,

“We would be okay.”

But, what about investors with only a few properties?

“Landlords depend on that supplement from the banks to help pay off their loans,” said Alex Daredia, real estate professional.

Daredia says he’s had a lot of concerned home owners approach him.

“I had one landlord reach out to me and say he was thinking of selling his property,” said Daredia. “It’s a four-plex and three units out of four are Section 8. and, if this continues, he’s going to sell it.”

But, officials at the Housing Authority remain hopeful that most landlords will be understanding. being that they will receive full payment once the government is back open. 

“We’re all in this boat together, it’s something that we’ve never experienced as a country, as an agency, a shutdown lasting this long,” said Kimmel. “So we’re very hopeful it will be resolved.” 

As for tenants, according to the Housing Authority, they will not be as impacted. They say it is illegal for landlords to evict them for this reason. 

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