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Richfield HRA takes action to protect Section 8 renters amid federal government shutdown

Post Date:01/22/2019 8:32 AM

The federal government shutdown has reached day 31 and from National Parks to airport security, the impact has been far-reaching. With no end in sight, the City of Richfield’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) has taken steps to insulate some of the city’s most vulnerable residents from losing their homes. 

Last week, the HRA authorized emergency funding of Housing Choice Vouchers payments and administrative costs through March.

“Housing stability is important for our residents,” explained HRA Chairperson Mary Supple. “Also, we do not want to place any undue pressure on our Section 8 rental property owners. The actions taken by the HRA provide security for both tenants and property owners.”

Richfield Community Development Department staff has been in contact with both Housing Choice Voucher clients and property owners.

The Richfield HRA administers approximately 270 Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8, which provide from $85 to $1,400 a month in rental assistance to residents.  The source of these funds is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

“The Richfield HRA took an extraordinary step to protect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents at their most recent meeting,” remarked Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez. “The authority has limited funds at its disposal and this action could lead to less available funding for its other programs down the road.”

The city’s current monthly funding from HUD is almost $185,000.

As of now, HUD has sufficient funding to pay housing authorities, such as the Richfield HRA, for the month of February. However, should the federal government shutdown extend into March, the City of Richfield anticipates that it will not receive funding for March rent payments.

“The HRA and its staff will continue to monitor the shutdown and, if needed, will readdress the funding situation at their February meeting, if the government shutdown appears to last beyond March,” said Community Development Director John Stark. “Unfortunately, the Richfield HRA does not have the available funding to alleviate this situation indefinitely. Without a funding source, the government shutdown would result in many rental property owners receiving little to none of the monthly rent due from their tenants who participate in this program and could jeopardize the tenancy of these residents.”

Richfield’s HRA was created in 1975 to assure the long-term vitality of Richfield's residential and commercial property. The HRA is a public corporation with the role and responsibility to undertake certain types of housing, economic, and commercial/industrial development and redevelopment or renewal activities within the city, using federal, state, and local funds to create and administer programs that encourage investment in Richfield.

The HRA and the City of Richfield are committed to ensuring housing stability for its Housing Choice Voucher recipients.  

“The federal government shutdown has consequences and we are feeling them here in Richfield when it comes to the city’s Housing Choice Voucher recipients,” said Regan Gonzalez. 

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