Government Shutdown Message
It’s business as usual at the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.
As you may know, a partial government shutdown started on Saturday, December 22, 2018. As a result, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is closed. Since the majority of the Housing Authority funds come from HUD, it impacts our programs. For example, the housing assistance payments for landlords under the Section 8 Voucher program are scheduled for the months of January and February 2019, and for now, the Housing Authority will operate as usual.
As we get a better sense of how long this shutdown will last, we will be able to assess future situations and communicate the information. We will keep you informed as we learn additional information about the situation.
Questions and Answers Regarding the Government Shutdown
During the federal government shutdown, how is the Housing Authority (HACSB) handling lease/housing assistance payments to owners/landlords?
According to HUD, housing assistance payments will be paid to owners/landlords through February 28, 2019. Congress will have to pass a law that the President has to sign to fund HUD programs for March and beyond, if there is still a government shutdown by then.
What if the federal government shutdown continues to March 1, 2019?
HACSB’s contingency plan for March is to request the use of HUD held program reserves, which if made available, will fund March lease/housing assistance payments. As we get a better sense of whether the government shutdown will continue into March and have additional information, we will post it on HACSB’s website homepage; in the meantime, we do not have a definitive answer regarding March funding. The Housing Authority will also be seeking approval from the Commission to utilize other Housing Authority reserves should the option of the HUD-held reserves not be forthcoming.
Are housing program participants responsible for the Housing Authority’s (HACSB) portion of the rent in the event the shutdown continues?
The tenant is not responsible for paying the portion of contract rent covered by HACSB under the lease/housing assistance payment contract that is between the owner/landlord and HACSB. HACSB’s failure to pay the lease/housing assistance payment to the owner/landlord is not a violation of the lease. The owner may not terminate the tenancy for nonpayment by HACSB. Also the owner/landlord cannot increase the rent for the tenant due to any nonpayment of the assistance by the Housing Authority because the owner and tenant continue to be subject to the terms of the lease. Tenants are only responsible for their portion of the rent per their lease agreement, which remains in effect until the lease/housing assistance payment contract is terminated. So long as tenants continue to pay their portion of the rent, they should be protected from an eviction for nonpayment of the full contract rent, should any lease/housing assistance payments not be paid (if the shutdown continues).
What if I currently have a voucher and in the process of looking for a unit?
The Housing Authority is not rescinding vouchers from households who are currently looking for a housing unit.
During the government shutdown, will Housing Authority staff remain at work in order to carry out functions and provide services for households and property owners?
Yes, the Housing Authority anticipates keeping its offices open to continue to serve its current housing program participants and landlords.