WASHINGTON — House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., called for an end to the government shutdown Thursday night, claiming that over a million households have been negatively affected by the partial closure of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As the partial government shutdown inches toward the longest in U.S. history, most agencies within the department are “severely understaffed,” with 95% of department employees on furlough.
“Millions of families that rely on HUD’s rental assistance programs are dangerously close to losing their homes due to projected lapses in funding,” Waters said in a statement, citing reports that 1,150 project-based rental assistance contracts have expired since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.
If the shutdown continues, another 500 contracts will expire in January and another 550 will expire in February, a HUD spokesman told NBC News.
Waters also emphasized that families looking to secure loans through the Federal Housing Administration or Department of Agriculture may face substantial delays or be unable to close during the shutdown.
Though the FHA has continued to process government-backed loans during the shutdown, many anticipate a backlog in FHA endorsements that could extend beyond when the government reopens, with the agency operating at just a fraction of its work force.
The shutdown has also exacerbated an existing backlog of fair-housing complaints at HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Waters said.
Additionally, people who rely on HUD grants and loans to fix health and safety hazards may miss payments, which could worsen unsafe living conditions, she said.
“These are just a few examples of the harm being caused by the third shutdown this nation has experienced since Trump took office and I continue to call on Republicans to protect the livelihoods of hardworking Americans by ending this shutdown immediately,” she said.