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SHA housing and services not impacted by government shutdown


SHA housing and services not impacted by government shutdown

U.S. Capitol building
U.S. Capitol building

SHA has informed tenants that it does not anticipate any impact to housing and services as a result of the government shutdown.

Media Contact:

Kerry Coughlin
Director of Communications
Seattle Housing Authority

Dear Tenants,

We have been following actions in Congress closely as members have been negotiating on a stopgap spending bill to avoid a government shutdown. As you may have heard, they failed to pass legislation by today’s deadline and a shutdown began at 9 p.m. Pacific Time tonight. I want to let you know that for the time being, we don’t anticipate any impact to your SHA housing and services.

The last government shutdown was in 2013 and lasted 16 days, which is considered toward the outside end of a potential federal government shutdown period. The shortest historically was one day and the longest 21 days. SHA has been in communication with HUD in anticipation of a possible shutdown today.  We are currently funded by HUD through January and we have been told to expect to receive our February payments on February 1 regardless of a shutdown, a commitment backed up by the published 2017 HUD Contingency Plan for Possible Lapse in Appropriations. Accordingly, we do not expect any disruption to our housing assistance payments for Housing Choice Vouchers or to our subsidy payments for Low-Income Public Housing. Further, we have operating reserves to carry us beyond that should this shutdown become an extreme case, but we think that possibility is remote.

There may be limitations to government services that would impact you, such as the closure of foreign offices that issue visas to visit the U.S., IRS tax call centers and agencies managing federal grants and contracts. However, regular government assistance payments you may receive and rely on for basic necessities through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, etc. will not be impacted. Recipients will continue to receive those payments normally. The shutdown also will not affect what are considered other essential government services, including the military, air traffic control, TSA and similar government functions. The shutdown will close what are considered non-essential agencies such as passport offices, the Small Business Administration, national parks, etc. The U.S. Postal Service will continue to deliver mail and packages. Many government employees who work in non-essential services will be furloughed without pay. Following the 2013 shutdown, Congress provided retroactive pay for affected workers, but there are no guarantees they would do it again this time.

There is no definitive government list of what will be closed and for how long but news outlets will be providing updates, and information can be found by searching “government shutdown” on the internet.

We will monitor Congress and the administration carefully in the days ahead and let you know if we see any reason to anticipate and prepare for a longer shutdown that might have an impact on SHA and our ability to continue normal operation of housing and services, but we don’t anticipate that at this time.


Andrew Lofton
SHA Executive Director