Lake Charles Housing Authority says no direct impact from government shutdown, yet

Lake Charles Housing Authority says no direct impact from government shutdown, yet

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - No one is sure when the partial government shutdown will end.

Right now, it’s affecting the paychecks of some 800,000 federal workers.

Here at home, many local offices of those federal agencies have yet to feel the effects of the shutdown, but some say it’s only a matter of time.

The longer the shutdown goes, the more federal programs are affected. One that could soon be disrupted is the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Lake Charles Housing Authority is one of many agencies watching the moves of Washington closely.

LCHA relies on HUD for funding and grants, and with 95 percent of HUD workers on furlough, everything has ground to a halt.

Fortunately, Lake Charles director Ben Taylor, says his office is good...for now.

“We are funded for the next couple of months...after that we have reserves, so I would think they would solve it by then," said Taylor.

Reportedly, over 1,000 contracts nationwide with private landlords have expired since the shutdown started. Taylor says it’s putting some work in Lake Charles on hold.

“We have a few projects in the pipeline that are basically, right now, on hold,” he said. “We have over 1,200 Section 8 tenants, if we do not have money to pay those rents, I would suspect that those people would not have a house," Taylor said.

It’s possible if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon, the Memphis Housing Authority could dip into reserve funds.

Meetings this week between President Trump and house democrats have not resulted in a deal.

As for Taylor, he said it’s not his first shutdown, but this one does feel different from the rest. He feels the issues are becoming less about party lines and more about personal differences.

“The people that are not working in the federal government are considered non-essential...I hear more and more people saying they’re wondering how essential the congress is,” said Taylor.

There are also funds to pay for public housing and the Section 8 voucher program in the short term.

Taylor said they have enough funding to last until mid April or early May.

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